What happens if two authors read each other’s book? Do they notice anything other than other readers? Do they live as much in the books? We invited the authors Mikkel Bugge and Monica Isakstuen to read and talk about their two new books, You are new and Rase .
When the rage governs
Monica Isakstuen got his breakthrough with the Bragepris winning Be kind to the animals in 2016. In this year’s book, Rase, we meet again the same protagonist, but she has gone from one child to three and beneath the surface bubbles a fierce mind.
” Rase started in the previous novel, but it took some time before I realized that I had the same protagonist to do,” says Monica Isakstuen. Because she was so angry and it’s enough her crisis that she does not recognize herself in that mind.
The book follows the nameless protagonist through a daily life characterized by upbringing, expectations and inadequacy. She does not get enough time, and she pushes her into a rage that hits her closest to her: two, little twins, an older daughter and a beloved man.
The reader meets a fragile woman who is increasingly burrowing into worries and her own fear of the rage she knows. Bugge calls the mind an unpleasant cousin of weariness, and that’s exactly what makes her everyday so difficult, but at the same time recognizable. For what grandchildren have not known how frustration grows when you never get to sleep?
Fear of himself
– A crazy fine, strong and bad novel about a mother and her boyfriend who cooks, says Bugge’s book. It is driven by how much man, I, recognize me in the protagonist, he continues.
That recognition balances sharply between the everyday mind all parents know and what bumps into violence. If the latter is the case, it throws a completely different light on the story and it becomes important to distance.
“But then I’m so far into the book that I’m not getting it,” Bugge admits.
Also the author himself has known about a closeness to reality. There is no autobiographical book Isakstuen has delivered, but she is not afraid that people should read it like that. She emphasizes that she is not alone in thinking or feeling what she is writing about. It was nevertheless an unpleasant book to write, and being in the main character’s own reflections about her mind was demanding but important.
“I had to show that she reflects on the situation, otherwise she will not sympathize with her,” explains Isakstuen.
“A woman who practices mental and physical violence is more scary, cheating and taboo-tolerated than men,” the author says. The man is mapped while the woman drives more with manipulation and is creepy when she becomes angry – perhaps most of herself.
An unfamiliar world
Mikkel Bugge also has several books behind him, including the bargain-priced novel collection Tauet . This fall is he back with a novel, You’re New , that’s about a hairdresser and a craftsman. They are young, inexperienced and get children quickly after they have joined together. The novel concentrates on the time around the pregnancy and the first moment of the child.
“I’ve always been busy writing something that is very close to myself, and at the same time far away,” says Bugge. I am writing from perspective that I completely do not understand or who I’m curious about, but in landscapes or worlds I have some knowledge. I did not write it at all to figure out what it’s like to feed through text.
In this book, it was the birth that became the catalyst. The opening sequence, just before the birth, where the protagonist is in a situation where the body wants one thing while his head is not in it, Bugge gave a thrill he wanted to work with.
Monica Isakstuen read Bugge’s book with great joy and admiration.
“You do something that not so many others do and move us away from a traditional middle class environment we writers often write from,” she explains. The look of the novel is original because it is a different socio-cultural layer than what we are used to reading from.
The young girl we meet in You are new is as a hairdresser and the author goes handy to work when writing his literary universe. He found an apartment in a street crossing in Old Oslo where he imagined that the couple lived, and he visited hair salons and clipped to observe the surroundings and those who worked there.
As the Isaac’s main character, Bugge’s new-born mother does not take the role of crushing calm and self-assurance.
“She’s so afraid of not getting it,” he says. She has little resources and help to get it done.
Much of what we think about our own actions is regulated by the people we surround. Whether we get confirmation or not being met, it forms our view of what we do. In Bugge’s book, the mother’s insecurity stands in stark contrast to the relaxed dad, who may not have so much eyes aimed at. Nor does the man in Rase doubt his ability as a caregiver, and apparently he does everything we want from a modern man. Bugge notes that the man is still short and once again the problem returns to the woman who does not open up to him.
Is there another common feature between the books? They are both about mothers who are unsure of that particular role. In addition, if we are to believe the Isakstuen itself, we get a good conclusion:
– The last pages are absolutely amazing, in both books!