Design: FUK Graphic Design Studio
127 x 184 mm 191 Fiction | Novel
Oslo, Norway, the second in Holten’s Ragnarok trilogy that began with the widely acclaimed The Readymades, cleverly gathers romance, cartography and Nordic myth in a meta-fictional retelling or interpretation of the streets of the eponymous capital. A self-aware tale of love and the fictions that are told in the process of it, the novel will be enjoyed by readers of Bolaño, Cortázar and Calvino and should be attempted by others.
— Structo magazine
Broken Dimanche Press published Holten’s second novel, Oslo, Norway. Slimmer than its predecessor, it is no less abundant in flair, formal daring, and breadth of vision. There are metafictional tricks and turns, effervescent sexuality, apocalyptic visions, ruined love, Nordic alienation, and a Cortazarian invitation to read the novel in any number of ways.
— Rob Doyle, from an interview with the author
After his critically acclaimed debut novel The Readymades, John Holten returns with an intriguing story of love and loss that begins in the affluent and rapidly growing city of Oslo, Norway. It follows the story of William Day, an economic migrant who moves to the city to work as a mechanical engineer before chance thrusts him into the alluring world of Sybille and her artist friend Camille. As they do their best to reconcile growing differences in personality and culture, Camille’s growing influence over Sybille threatens the relationship, before her dangerous friends in the Oslo underworld finally undo William’s search for stability. This sets William – and the reader – in the direction of the novel’s horizon, which is set outside of historical time and space, taking in the history of oil exploration, Norse mythology, coronal mass ejections and post-apocalyptic landscapes.
Written with an emotional honesty, Holten places himself directly in the book as both narrator and first reader, highlighting the discrepancy between any map and the territory it represents. The second book of a project entitled Ragnarok, Oslo Norway is constructed in a unique style and set with a visually arresting layout: a self-styled literary atlas that is a pleasure to hold, it creates a new form for a reading experience in line with how we read online. The story is recounted over thirty nine chapters, each named after various streets and environs of the city of Oslo, followed by a legend that unlocks and provides information from the preceding narrative in a revealing interplay between what is real and what is fiction. Inviting a non-linear reading, Holten has galvanised a new type of literary experience that is open-ended, multi-layered, wholly contemporary.