Nightly Bread

Falkberget, Johan: Nattens Brød

An-Magritt (1940) is the first volume of Nightly Bread, Falkberget’s monumental work from the Norwegian mining community in the 1600s. With vivid and intense surroundings and a colourful cast of characters, he describes life by the melting cabins and the people working there. An-Magritt grows up in the community around Cornelia Melting Hut, and already as a 15-year-old she transports coal and ore. A solitary woman among men, she must fight the same hard battle as do they, but when Johannes from Germany arrives, love finally enters her life.

In The Plough (1946), An-Magritt has leased a patch in the mountains. Inside her she carries a dream about freedom – about soil and golden grains. Through inhuman ordeals, but with an unbreakable spirit, she manages to cultivate her arid soil, and the same force helps her through humiliation, detention and court proceedings. Her love for Johannes is strong, and for his sake, she ploughs and plants her way through her hardship.

In Johannes (1952), An-Magritt embarks on a new chapter of her life. Her leased patch has been turned into a freehold farm, and she now appears as a leader type in the minds of the poor, subservient toilers at the melting cabin. But An-Magritt is not truly happy until the Palm Sunday when she finally marries Johannes. Quietly and purposefully she works to make him feel at home in the small community around them.

Love’s Ways (1959) is the fourth and final volume in Nightly Bread. The deep love which has transformed An-Magritt from a primitive girl to a mature woman, is particularly well described in this novel. As in the other books, the story unfolds around the Cornelia Melting Cabin, the institution controlling the fates of the people in the small mountain village, and that provides them with the hard-earned “ nightly bread”.

First published: 1940-1959

Johan Falkberget: Biography and bibliography

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