A New Name
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From the publisher
Translated by Damion Searls
Asle is an ageing painter and widower who lives alone on the southwest coast of Norway. In nearby Bjørgvin another Asle, also a painter, is lying in the hospital, consumed by alcoholism. Asle and Asle are doppelgängers – two versions of the same person, two versions of the same life, both grappling with existential questions.
In this final instalment of Jon Fosse’s Septology, the major prose work by ‘the Beckett of the twenty-first century’ (Le Monde), we follow the lives of the two Asles as younger adults in flashbacks: the narrator meets his lifelong love, Ales; joins the Catholic Church; and makes a living bytrying to paint away all the pictures stuck in his mind. A New Name: Septology VI-VII is a transcendent explorationof the human condition, and a radically other reading experience – incantatory, hypnotic, and utterly unique.
‘Fosse’s portrait of memory remarkably refuses. It will not be other than: indellible as paint, trivial as nail clippings, wound like damp string. This book reaches out of its frame like a hand.’
— Jesse Ball, author of Census
‘Jon Fosse is a major European writer.’
— Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of My Struggle
‘A deeply moving experience. At times while reading the first two books of Septology, I walked around in a fugue-like state, wondering what it was that I was reading, exactly. A parable? A gospel? A novel bereft of the usual markings of plot, time, and character? The answer appeared to be all of the above, but although I usually balk at anything mystical, the effect was haunting and cumulative ... I hesitate to compare the experience of reading these works to the act of meditation. But that is the closest I can come to describing how something in the critical self is shed in the process of reading Fosse, only to be replaced by something more primal. A mood. An atmosphere. The sound of words moving on a page.’
— Ruth Margalit, New York Review of Books