cover image Encircling 3: Aftermath

Encircling 3: Aftermath

Carl Frode Tiller, trans. from the Norwegian by Barbara J. Haveland. Graywolf, $20 trade paper (520p) ISBN 978-1-64445-058-1

Tiller’s fascinating and revelatory final volume in his Encircling trilogy turns everything readers thought they knew on its head. The series began with a simple premise: a writer named David, having lost his memory, placed an ad in the paper in search of clues to his identity, prompting old friends and acquaintances to send him letters. Now, David learns he was accidentally switched at birth with a man named Marius Rosendahl; Marius has lived the life of privilege intended for David and is heir to a salmon-fishing fortune. Meanwhile, Susanne, a once-devoted environmentalist and leftist who came to question her beliefs during an affair with David that left her life in ruins, bitterly describes their sexual rendezvous in letters to him, recounting how she’d initially found him sexually and socially liberating, but came to see him as a “living, breathing cliché,” with his red wine and pipe tobacco next to the computer keyboard. In the final section, Tiller reveals how low David has fallen in his life, and the strange, amoral things he will do to battle his sense of inadequacy. Tiller has created a polyphony of intriguing characters and a brilliant inquiry into the construction of personhood. This strong series couldn’t have gone out on a better note. (July)