Through the Night (novel)

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Through the Night
Author Stig Sæterbakken
Original titleGjennom natten
Translator Seán Kinsella
Country Norway
Language Norwegian
Publisher Cappelen Damm
Publication date
Published in English
1 June 2013
Pages 272
ISBN 9788202357993

Through the Night (Norwegian : Gjennom natten) is a 2011 novel by the Norwegian writer Stig Sæterbakken. It tells the story of a father who goes through the mourning process after his 18-year-old son commits suicide. It was Sæterbakken's last book.

Norwegian language North Germanic language spoken in Norway

Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it is the official language. Along with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a dialect continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional varieties, and some Norwegian and Swedish dialects, in particular, are very close. These Scandinavian languages, together with Faroese and Icelandic as well as some extinct languages, constitute the North Germanic languages. Faroese and Icelandic are hardly mutually intelligible with Norwegian in their spoken form because continental Scandinavian has diverged from them. While the two Germanic languages with the greatest numbers of speakers, English and German, have close similarities with Norwegian, neither is mutually intelligible with it. Norwegian is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era.

Stig Sæterbakken Norwegian writer

Stig Sæterbakken was a Norwegian author. He wrote novels, essays, poems and worked as a translator.


The book was awarded P2-lytternes romanpris and Ungdommens kritikerpris in Norway. [1] [2] The English translation by Seán Kinsella was longlisted for the 2014 Best Translated Book Award. [3]

The Best Translated Book Award is an American literary award that recognizes the previous year's best original translation into English, one book of poetry and one of fiction. It was inaugurated in 2008 and is conferred by Three Percent, the online literary magazine of Open Letter Books, which is the book translation press of the University of Rochester. A long list and short list are announced leading up to the award.


Ole Øyvind Sand Holth of Dagbladet reviewed the novel:

<i>Dagbladet</i> Norwegian daily newspaper

Dagbladet is one of Norway's largest newspapers and has 1,400,000 daily readers on mobile, web and paper.

It is painful, but also rewarding to read, primarily because Sæterbakken writes enormously well. The language never becomes a shield or filter, quite the opposite, it drills into the darkness, with a precision and ingenuity in the use of images that paradoxically feels liberating[.] ... None of the simple constituents is particularly original, it is rather about playing with familiar motifs, but Sæterbakken shows that he masters classic, fear-inducing storytelling. [4]

Publishers Weekly wrote about the English translation:

<i>Publishers Weekly</i>

Publishers Weekly (PW) is an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents. Published continuously since 1872, it has carried the tagline, "The International News Magazine of Book Publishing and Bookselling". With 51 issues a year, the emphasis today is on book reviews.

Saeterbakken's confident articulation of the myriad emotions and symptoms that make up Meyer's grief is a grand example of drawing universality from extreme specificity; the prose is evocative in a way that forces the reader to feel deeply the entire gamut of his particular sorrow and guilt while also being an observer of his wife divergent experience. ... Readers may lose the plot's thread in a surreal sequence towards the end, but it is not wholly disorienting. Though hardly uplifting, Saeterbakken last is notable for the beauty and heartbreak of its narration. [5]

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  1. Bjørnskau, Hilde (2012-02-10). "Sæterbakken vant Romanprisen". (in Norwegian). NRK . Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  2. Sorknes, Mailen; Kleve, Marie L. (2012-03-01). "Stig Sæterbakken ble ungdommens favorittforfatter". Dagbladet . Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  3. Post, Chad W. (2014-11-03). "BTBA 2014 Fiction Longlist: It's Here!". Three Percent. University of Rochester . Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  4. Sand Holth, Ole Øyvind (2011-09-12). "Natt uten ende". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2015-10-14. Det er vondt, men også givende å lese, først og fremst fordi Sæterbakken skriver enormt godt. Språket blir aldri noe skjold eller filter, tvert imot, det borer seg inn i mørket, med en presisjon og oppfinnsomhet i billedbruken som paradoksalt nok føles befriende[.] ... Ingen av de enkelte bestanddelene er spesielt originale, det dreier seg snarere om en lek med kjente motiver, men Sæterbakken viser at han mestrer klassisk, fryktinngytende fortellerteknikk.
  5. "Fiction Book Review: Through the Night by Stig Saeterbakken". Publishers Weekly . 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2015-10-14.