The Pastor

by

Translated from by

Published: Coming October 5, 2021

$20.00

ISBN: 9781953861085 eISBN:9781953861092
This item will be released on October 5, 2021.

    Paperback

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Book Description

Liv is fascinated by words and their edges and echoes. As a student of theology in Germany, she researches how the language of the Bible was wielded against the indigenous Sami people during the 1800s. Liv excavates their past and her own, searching for meaning in a scene of Sami children gathering cloudberries and figs, from the memory of the magical weaver woman from an Astrid Lindgren fairytale she read as a child, or in how misstep and misunderstandings can lead to isolation and pain. With each new experience and confrontation, fresh questions about scripture and empathy and who she is arise. She wonders how “language, in all its plasticity, became so stiff and unbending,” and slowly, she bends it back toward her, building her own vocabulary of healing.

Praise for Love


Building up to a shattering culmination...that stays with the reader long after closing the book, Love is as haunting as it is moving, stunningly presented in Martin Aitken’s discerning translation. Although originally published in Norway more than 20 years ago, the novel retains a timeless brilliance through its portrayal of missed connections and failures to communicate beyond surface levels.
D.R. Hansen, 3:AM Magazine


Ørstavik brings us remarkably close to both her characters, shifting effortlessly between them in stark, lucid prose ... Ørstavik’s twinned themes of love and neglect manifest on every page. Her style, brilliantly translated by Martin Aitken, is quiet and mesmeric, aligning us with divorcee Vibeke and, particularly, with her son Jon, on the eve of his ninth birthday ... for all the potential dangers of this one night, the book’s achievement is that we come to the end of it seeing a wider picture.
Sarah Gilmartin, The Irish Times


Ørstavik’s ingenious device is to toggle between their two consciousnesses from one paragraph to the next, so that their narratives run as though on parallel train tracks, never to meet, even as they lie cheek to cheek. Layers of unremarkable everyday intimacy and acres of emotional distance are compressed between the lines ... Ørstavik has found fertile territory here in which to dig into the raging solipsism of the inner life ... We are all sealed worlds, Ørstavik seems to suggest; it’s dark outside, and it’s dark inside too.
Justine Jordan, The Guardian


In Hanne Ørstavik’s Love , the equilibrium between a tense, disquieting plot and a gently experimental binary structure sustain the reader’s attention and awe from beginning to end. The aerial beauty of Martin Aitken’s translation contributes to make the novel a successful rarity: a book that is at the same time a thriller and a dense literary object. “Perfect” may be the proper adjective to describe it.
National Book Foundation, 2018 Translated Literature Finalist


Love​​’s impeccable English translation by Martin Aitken reflects the economy and self-possession of Nordic prose. Its seamless narration, drawn in counterpoint, reverberates beyond the eerie landscape, lingering in the mind ... ​​Love​​, like love, yields its own gifts.​
Fani Papageorgiou, Hyperallergic


[Love is] driven home for American readers thanks, in large part, to the translation, by Martin Aitkin. Aitkin’s translation is economic, delicate, and pliant, making the narrative shifts between Vibeke and Jon seem effortless, dreamlike.
Brianne Baker, Entropy


Ørstavik's mastery of perspective and clean, crackling sentences prevent sentimentality or sensationalism from trailing this story of a woman and her accidentally untended child. Both of them long for love, but the desire lines of the book are beautifully crooked. Jon wants his mother, and to be let in out of the cold...the cold that seems a character throughout this excellent novel of near misses.
Claire Vaye Watkins, New York Times Book Review


A haunting masterpiece... The deceptively simple novel is slow-burning, placing each character into situations associated with horror – entering an unfamiliar house, accepting a ride from a stranger – and the result is a magnificent tale.
Publishers Weekly, starred review


In this swift, elegantly constructed novel, Hanne Ørstavik masterfully conveys a sense of entwined dread and longing that doesn’t let up for a second. From the opening page to the powerfully moving finale, this tale of a mother and son is riveting. The characters’ inner lives are illumined by a beautiful eeriness, and the translation’s precision and clarity do justice to the novel’s intensities. Read it: it’ll bat around your brain for a long time afterward.
Martha Cooley


Prizewinning Norwegian Ørstavik follows the parallel courses of a single mother and her 8-year-old son during a night that moves unrelentingly toward tragedy... A nightmarish sense of impending doom hangs over these carefully detailed, tightly controlled pages... icy cold to the core.
Kirkus Reviews


Point of view works like a spot of living light in this slender book, with deft perspective shifts occurring between Vibeke, a hardworking, distracted mother, and Jon, her curious, lonely young son, on nearly every page. Mother and son are each on a separate journey, but the reader watches their whole shared life, as memories are folded expertly between breaths in Orstavik's urgent, visually vivid present tense – what a lovely shape. Nothing is wasted. And I'm astonished by the precision and poetry of Martin Aitken's translation from the Norwegian.
Gina Balibrera, Literati Bookstore


A creeping sense of unease is ratcheted up by the cool, lucid prose and how the paragraphs shift between mother and son, clarifying how close they should be and how close they aren’t... Multi-award winner Ørstavik offers an unsettling read that most will enjoy.
Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal