The Phantom Picture

Aleksander Bergan: Fantombildet

The protagonist in The Phantom Picture is a 27-year old man who for years has been an anonymous observer of celebrity culture through his job as an assistant in a small but important publishing house. He has three friends, takes a considerably numb and unengaged view of life, and is certain that he will die before he reaches his next birthday.

Then one day, after the publishing house’s summer party, he wakes up to read an article in the newspaper which states that he is the multi-talented artist Casper Isaksen, just returned from the United States. It then turns out that the protagonist and Casper Isaksen share a surprising number of characteristics.

At first glance,The Phantom Picture is an ironic novel about vanity and celebrity, but a closer look reveals a tale of loss, of making moral choices and of living up to expectations.

Click here for an English sample translation and here for a synopsis of this novel.

Praise for The Phantom Picture:

"This novel is exceedingly well-written, funny and entertaining, but at the same time deeply serious."
(Tønsbergs Blad)

"He manages to abstain from his generation’s inclination towards irony ... instead he genuinely succeeds in writing satire, which is much more difficult than being ironic. And it is well done."
(NRK P1 - Nitimen)

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