The Picture on the BackHaavardsholm, Espen: Bildet på baksiden
It’s 1979, and Nils Hå is losing his faith in the great utopian ideas. A father of two and twice divorced, he is developing a writer’s block. One day his father unexpectedly invites for trip to Latin America. And a postcard from his childhood friend Zakk, who disappeared more than 13 years earlier, indicates that he is now on the very same continent.
With THE PICTURE ON THE BACK Haavardsholm concludes his loose trilogy about Nils Hå. As in the previous books, The Boy in the Passport Photo and Twenty , fiction and autobiography are neatly intertwined. In a sensitive and nuanced manner, Haavardsholm portrays father-son relationships of several generations.
Praise for THE PICTURE ON THE BACK:
”… a sincere self-portrait. For once we meet a man who looks back on the shipwreck of his own life with an honest will to accept his own guilt and work to make things good again … the reflections that appear in the novel generate a warmth which spreads throughout the text.”
“… a remarkable portrait of a complex father-son relationship … convincing and true … Carefully executed prose and rough dialogues makes for an exciting and fluent read … a sly writer who knows how to create beautiful scenes. Haavardsholm moves backwards and forwards in time, searches out unpleasant childhood memories and problematic family relations, and succeeds in giving his material universal value.”
“A worthy end to an trilogy that really stands out. The fictional and the autobiographical merge to create a unity which captivates the reader … The writing is unpretentious and precise.”
“… a tightly woven tale … Seemingly isolated incidents and persons – from past and present – memories and imaginative metaphors from the realm of nature find their place in a penetrating examination of the narrator’s own life and the labyrinths of his family.”
First published: 2008, Forlaget Oktober
Espen Haavardsholm: Biography and bibliography