cover image Morning and Evening

Morning and Evening

Jon Fosse, trans. from the Norwegian by Damion Searls. Dalkey Archive (Columbia, dist.), $14 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-62897-108-8

In this dreamlike novel, Fosse (Melancholy II), a celebrated Norwegian writer and author of more than 30 books, draws readers into a disorienting work that seamlessly oscillates between its parts. The book is divided into two compact yet deeply moving accounts of a life: in the first section, a father awaits the birth of his son, Johannes, and contemplates his son’s future as a fisherman; in the second, an elderly man, also named Johannes (which may or may not be the same person), experiences his final living hours. This section, which takes up a majority of the novel, puts into question what is real and what is a hallucination, as the book follows the elderly Johannes through a museum of the life he’s lived: selling crabs at the quay, reminiscing with his old friend Pete, and meeting young Erna, the woman who will become his wife. Indeed, the moments throughout the novel are simple, quotidian, yet Fosse’s pared down, circuitous, and rhythmic prose skillfully guides readers through past and present. In this short, gripping novel, Fosse composes a hypnotic meditation on life and death. (Sept.)