Books about Norway
Anne van Oorschot, Owner and travel designer
If you are going on vacation to Norway, and want to experience a bit of the country before your visit, reading books by Norwegian writers is the perfect way to do so. Or perhaps you are looking to relive your experience with some exciting Norwegian thrillers. Since I love to read, I want to share some book tips with you. These books are perfect to read before, during, or after your trip to Norway. They will certainly increase your experience , and let you dive into the wonderful world of Norwegian literature.
Book 1: The Bridge Builders, written by Jan Guillou
Norwegian title: Brobyggerne Style: historical novel Especially interesting because: the description of how the railway between Bergen and Oslo was built around 1900. Anne’s review: ‘I adored this book because of the insights in how it was to engineer the railway at that time, dealing with the harsh climate high up in the mountains. When you take the train nowadays, both the Bergensbanen (between Bergen and Oslo), and the Flåmsbanen (Flåm railway) it makes it all extra special to know what ordeal it was to create it. This series, 7 books in total, is about humanity’s greatest, cruellest and bloodiest century starts in 1900 with three boys from a poor fishing village in Norway, and follows them and, in later books, their children to Germany, England, Africa and Sweden. It touches on ambitious engineering projects, colonialism in Africa, communities of artists, the world wars, underground resistance, espionage, nuclear threat and Vietnam protests.
Explore Norway by rail while reading The Bridge Builders by Jan Guillou
Photo by Norway Adventures
Book 2: Dina’s book, written by Herbjørg Wassmo
Norwegian title: Dinas book Style: historical novel Especially interesting because of the impression of growing up in an isolated fishermen village in Norway around 1800. Anne’s review: ‘I loved this book because of it made me realise how different from nowadays it was to grow up then. The book/main character Dina is a little special, but that is how literature can be sometimes’. Herbjørg Wassmo, winner of the Nordic Council Literature Prize, is one of Scandinavia’s leading novelists and poets. She has written many good books.
Get an impression on what life was like in Norway in the 19th century
Book 3: Growth of the Soil, written by Knut Hamson
Norwegian title: Markens Grøde Style: historical novel Especially interesting because it follows the story of a man who settles and lives in rural Norway. Anne’s review: ‘if you like literature then this is a classic book you have to read’. Knut Hamsun was a major Norwegian writer, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920 for his book Growth of the Soil. Hamsun’s work spans more than 70 years and shows variation with regard to the subject, perspective and environment.
After reading this, you may want to move to Norway as well
Book 4: Harry Hole thriller series, written by Jo Nesbø
Style: thriller, based in and around Oslo Anne’s review: ‘All of Jo Nesbø’s thrillers about Harry Hole are worth reading’ Jo Nesbø is a Norwegian writer, musician, former economist and reporter. Jo Nesbo is one of the world’s bestselling crime writers, with The Leopard, Phantom, Police, The Son and his latest Harry Hole novel, The Thirst, all topping the Sunday Times bestseller charts. He’s an international number one bestseller and his books are published in 50 languages, selling over 33 million copies around the world. While each book has its own storyline, if you are looking to read them all, this is the right order:
- The Bat
- The Redbreast
- The Devil’s Star
- The Redeemer
- The Snowman
- The Leopard
- The Thirst
Scandinavian mystery thrillers at their best
Photo by Lisa Michienzi
Other recommendations for books about Norway
- Gunnar Staalesen has written many novels and thrillers, from the area of Bergen
- Out Stealing Horses by Pet Petterson
- The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen
- Sigrid Undset: Trilogy about Kristin Lavransdatter, and life in the Middle Ages in Scandinavia
About Anne van Oorschot
Owner and travel designer
Anne moved from the Netherlands to Norway in 2000, with her husband Rogier. The untouched nature, fresh air, and safe environment felt like coming home. She loves to go on adventures with her three children, visiting places all over Norway. Living in Norway as a foreigner gave her the opportunity to be a tourist here even after 20 years. She designs many different vacations, from family adventures to luxurious honeymoons.
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