Roy Jacobsen and Stephen Sparks: A conversation about the Barrøy Chronicles
Join Roy Jacobsen virtually with Point Reyes Books as he discusses the first three books in the Barrøy Chronicles: The Unseen, White Shadow, and the newly published Eyes of the Rigel (Biblioasis). Stephen Sparks, owner of Point Reyes Books, will serve as moderator. The event will take place on Zoom on Thursday, April 14 at 12PM PST.
Order The Unseen from Biblioasis here.
Order White Shadow from Biblioasis here.
Preorder Eyes of the Rigel from Biblioasis here.
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 Barrøy’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.
No-one can be alone on an island . . . But Ingrid is alone on Barrøy, the island that bears her name, and the war of her childhood has been replaced by a new, more terrible present: the Nazi occupation of Norway. When the bodies from a bombed vessel carrying Russian prisoners of war begin to wash up on the shore, Ingrid can’t know that one will not only be alive, but could be the answer to a lifetime of loneliness—nor can she imagine what suffering she will endure in hiding her lover from the German authorities, or the journey she will face, after being wrenched from her island as consequence for protecting him, to return home. Or especially that, surrounded by the horrors of battle, among refugees fleeing famine and scorched earth, she will receive a gift, the value of which is beyond measure.
The journey had taken on its own momentum, it had become an autonomous, independent entity, she was searching for love, and was still happily unaware that truth is the first casualty of peace.
The war is over, and Ingrid Barrøy leaves the island that shares her name to search for the father of her daughter. Alexander, the Russian POW who survived the sinking of the Rigel, has attempted to cross the mountains to Sweden, and now Ingrid follows, carrying their child in her arms, the girl’s dark eyes and a handwritten note her only mementoes of their relationship. Along the way she will encounter partisans and collaborators, refugees and deserters, sinners and servants in a country still bearing the scars of occupation—and before her journey’s end, she’ll be forced to ask herself how well she really knows the man she’s risking everything to find.
Born in Oslo to a family that came from northern Norway, Roy Jacobsen has twice been nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literary Award. He is the author of more than fifteen novels and is a member of the Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Dublin Impac Award for his novel The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles. Another novel, Child Wonder, won the Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize and was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. The Unseen, the first of a series of novels about Ingrid and her family, was a phenomenal bestseller in Norway and was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize and the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award, selected as a 2020 Indie Next pick in North America, and named a New York Times New and Noteworthy book. White Shadow, the second Barrøy novel, was published in North America by Biblioasis in 2021.