Here you can read Elnglish excerpts from a few of my books, originally written in Norwegian.

Son of Dust

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Son of Dust, 1998

«It could have been asbestos. Fireproof. Or was it inextinguishable, strands of hair and of down. They could not be seen. Gray, it flamed gray. He had to gather every grain. It made all the difference. Do you hear? All the difference. Little Emil slept back then in a tatted bonnet from his father’s mother. The bonnet lay in place upon the down. It lay so tenderly in place and blended in with his baby head. Little Emil had had another bonnet at first. Don’t think about that first bonnet, which went down. This second bonnet had an edging that brought to mind the forest. What could a tatted bonnet edging have to do with a forest? The tatting had something to do with a marsh and with globeflowers. That’s how it was with everything that lived. It all had something to do with a marsh and with globeflowers. Under the bonnet lay the downy head. That light, perishable down. Everything has its time under heaven. A time to rise, and another to sink. A time for down, and another without. Sleep now, my little prince, when I blow out the light.»

(Translated by Susan Schwartz Senstad)


I Naomis hus

I Naomi’s House, 1993

«Coming from the center of Kigali, you turn down along the path beside the bar, Imararungu, to get to Naomi’s house. Kigali is made up of hills and valleys; people live up or down. Naomi lives in a hollow.
    In the middle of the capital city and right near the central hospital lies the military base. At every single improvised roadblock there stands a band of young soldiers. It has been this way since October, 1990.»

Download an introduction to the book and more excerpts in word-format.


I lys av døden

I Light of Death – a story about dying, 1992

«To die is ordinary. It may be dramatic or quiet. But it does not have to be anonymous. Or gloomy. How we leave the world is just as important as how we come into it.
   We can live until we die. Even a consuming illness does not choke off all expression of life. Life has its own, curious tenacity.
   This book contains some thoughts on dying one's own death, and then a story about doing just that. A dying person reads, dances, listens to the news, puts on make-up, has her picture taken. The world is not far away. And all the while, her hair keeps on falling out from chemotherapy.
   If this is dying, then it is so many things. Serious and funny.
   When you've photographed someone who then dies, you cannot do it over again. As an expressive medium, photography has its awful and fascinating singularity. Its absolute-instant. Its never-again. When the person you have photographed has died, photography's singularity becomes even more striking.
   I cannot photograph my mother again. Only the darkroom work can be done now. More or less light on her face? Each second of light matters.
   These photographs from a person's last two months show how important it is for the one who is dying to be seen; and how someone who is very ill can still be there, be present until she no longer breathes.
   But why the photograph of the little Romanian girl at a market near the Russian border? And why the little Jewish girl by the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem?
   It is January, 1991. This dying woman is hungry for news reports. She travels via books. A library deathbed. In the world is where she is dying, in a consciousness not far from Eastern Europe, not even far from the Middle East.
   And as most other people who are dying, she recalls tender, brutal and amusing episodes from her own childhood. She wants so much to tell them; does tell them, and with a passion.
   Perhaps this is also a story about how important stories are.»

(Translated by Susan Schwartz Senstad)