We’re honored to share that Stranger’s Guide was recently named a 2022 Fiction finalist for the prestigious National Magazine Award for three stories published last year, including “A Sudden Liberating Thought” written by Archipelago author Kjell Askildsen and translated by Seán Kinsella. Other awardees include work published in Georgia Review, Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s Quarterly, and The New Yorker.
Kjell Askildsen, who was born in 1929 and passed away in 2021, is widely recognized as one of the preeminent Norwegian writers of the twentieth century and among the greatest short story authors of all time. He entered the literary scene in 1953 with the collection of short stories From Now on I’ll Take You All the Way Home, which received glittering reviews in the Oslo press, but was banished from the library in his home town, for immorality. It was not until 1987, after the publication of A Sudden Liberating Thought, did he receive critical acclaim. Askildsen has since received numerous literary awards, among them the Norwegian Critics’ Prize (1983 and 1991), the Brage Honorary Prize (1996), the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize (2009), and in 1991, he was nominated for the Nordic Council’s Prize for Literature.
In 2021, Archipelago published Askildsen’s Everything Like Before, a luminous collection of stories that captures life as it really is. Its pages feature a man and a woman in a quiet, remote house, an old man on a park bench, an estranged brother in a railway café – characters surrounded by absence. Filled with disquiet, and longing, they walk to a fjord, they smoke, they drink on a veranda, they listen to conversations that drift through open windows. Small flashes like the promise of a sunhat, a nail in a cherry tree, or a raised flag, reveal the interminable space between desire and reality in which Askildsen’s characters are forever suspended.