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Helga Flatland is already one of Norway's most awarded and widely read authors. Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas' First Book Prize. She has written four novels and a children's book and has won several other literary awards.
A deeply layered, emotional and compelling novel that examines and contemplates family relationships. A terminal cancer diagnosis results in reflection for Anne and her daughter Sigrid. This is award-winning Helga Flatland’s fifth book, and her second to be published in English, it was shortlisted for the Norwegian Booksellers Award and topped the bestseller lists there. Her first English translation A Modern Family which was a number-one bestseller in Norway is another beautifully written book I can highly recommend. Both books have been translated by Rosie Hedger, and it is superbly done, you can feel Norway and the differences, yet an exquisite connection to the story makes you a part of the words. Anne and Sigrid narrate, the chapters aren’t headed yet each character’s voice is distinctive and any momentary hesitation between chapters soon clears. This joining of voices yet fragmentation of thoughts as the voices change, helps not hinders as it establishes the tone, the feeling of these women. Helga Flatland is a writer who is able to directly touch innermost thoughts and set them free to explore. She knows how to display the raw yet real side of what it is to be human. Using small slices of humour to break tension, she allows emotions to form, alter, sway. The ending, that engaging eloquent ending, sent goosebumps skimming down my arms. One Last Time is a beautiful meaningful expressive read and I truly loved it.
Sharp, shrewd and incredibly intimate, this is a novel that explores the truth in family relationships. To celebrate Sverre’s 70th birthday his family travel to Italy, once there his children are shocked to the core when their mother and father announce they are divorcing. Novelist Helga Flatland makes her English debut with ‘A Modern Family’ which was the winner of the Norwegian Booksellers’ Award. The translation by Rosie Hedger is beautifully seamless. The three children, Liv, Ellen, and Hakon tell us their thoughts and feelings as the holiday and news hits home. As each person speaks, we not only see them as they see themselves, we are exposed to their quirks and differences as we then view them through the eyes of their siblings. The life cycle of relationships is explored with a transparent directness, this is a novel that prods and provokes. A fascinating read, incredibly profound, yet somehow tender, this really does encourage an exploration of a modern family.