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The Unseen Reviews

The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen, Don Bartlett, Don Shaw

The Unseen

Roy Jacobsen, Don Bartlett, Don Shaw

4.60 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: MacLehose Press
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Publication date: 15 May 2017
ISBN: 9781848666108

A group of children inherit an elemental paradise on earth in Roy Jacobsen's phenomenally bestselling new novel about love, poverty and tragedy in early twentieth century Norway

5 stars out of 5
Justine Jordan
12 May 2017

"a profound interrogation of freedom and fate"

The setting for this Norwegian bestseller, translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw and now shortlisted for the International Man Booker prize, is a speck of rock off Norway’s coast at the start of the 20th century. Barrøy is a world entire for the one family who live there: it is scoured by storms and at the mercy of the sea that both provides a living and brings so much death, but is seemingly eternal, and seemingly theirs... This is a profound interrogation of freedom and fate, as well as a fascinating portrait of a vanished time, written in prose as clear and washed clean as the world after a storm.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
12 May 2017

"The Unseen is a blunt, brilliant book"

The Unseen are the Barrøys, a three-generation Norwegian family who live on their own island. Occasionally the priest drops by, sometimes a man comes to buy their produce; otherwise they are undisturbed. Sparse, sublime prose distils this life along with the elements. The subtle translation, with its invented dialect, conveys a timeless, provincial voice... Shortlisted for the Man Booker International prize, The Unseen is a blunt, brilliant book.

5 stars out of 5
Eileen Battersby
10 Sep 2016

"The Unseen is Jacobsen’s finest to date, as blunt as it is subtle and is easily among the best books I have ever read"

The novel resounds with humanity and laconic humour. Jacobsen, born in 1954, is a rare artist with an innate tone as wry as his observations are profound. His genius is being able to make a reader laugh and cry and, most important of all, to feel more human... But even by his high standards, his magnificent new novel The Unseen is Jacobsen’s finest to date, as blunt as it is subtle and is easily among the best books I have ever read.