I picked this for the Catapult Book Club and was completely surprised & enthralled by it. It perfectly transported me to a time and place that I've never been to before or even thought about - early 20th-century agrarian island life on the Norwegian archipelago. The isolated, tight-knit Barrøy family is earthy, real, flawed, familiar, and lovely - another bookseller perfectly described this as a Wyeth painting come to life. I've been spending so much time reading the news lately, thinking about the current state of the world, discussing systemic racism, defunding police departments, global pandemics, co-raising two feisty little girls, working long, weird hours at the shop - and this gem from Norway was the perfect escape for me. I'm sure it's not for everyone, which is the beauty of fiction - but sometimes that perfect book comes along out of nowhere for you and helps push that reset button in your brain. This was just the ticket for me. -seth— From Seth's Picks
“Never has a novel so utterly simple left me with such deep contemplation. I know Ingrid will linger in the back of my mind for a long while, continuing to grow, discover, and dig into her island with unique grit. Jacobsen has left me tossing in a boat at sea, filled with the determination of the Barrøys to make their tiny Norwegian island more than is possible and, at the same time, torn by nagging questions of what else life might offer.”
— Carrie Koepke, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO
Shortlisted for the 2017 International Man Booker Prize
Shortlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award
Islanders are never afraid, if they were, they wouldn't be able to live here. Born on the Norwegian island that bears her name, Ingrid Barr y's world is circumscribed by storm-scoured rocks and the moods of the sea by which her family lives and dies. But her father dreams of building a quay that will end their isolation, and her mother longs for the island of her youth, and the country faces its own sea change: the advent of a modern world, and all its attendant unpredictability and violence. Brilliantly translated into English by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw, The Unseen is a profoundly moving exploration of family, resilience, and fate.