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
See also the equally excellent second volume in the trilogy, White Shadow!— From Seth's Picks
Shortlisted for the 2017 International Man Booker Prize - Shortlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award - "Even by his high standards, his magnificent new novel The Unseen is Jacobsen's finest to date, as blunt as it is subtle and is easily among the best books I have ever read."―Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
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 unpredictability and violence. Brilliantly translated into English by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw, The Unseen is the first book in the Barr y Chronicles and a moving exploration of family, resilience, and fate.