“A prickly, persuasive novel. Like Knausgaard, Hjorth is writing against repression, against the taboo on telling things as they really are. But he urges us to look at dead bodies; she forces us to regard bleeding souls.” –New Yorker
Four siblings. Two summer houses. One terrible secret. When a dispute over her parents’ will grows bitter, Bergljot is drawn back into the orbit of the family she fled twenty years before. Her mother and father have decided to leave two island summer houses to her sisters, disinheriting the two eldest siblings from the most meaningful part of the estate. To outsiders, it is a quarrel about property and favouritism. But Bergljot, who has borne a horrible secret since childhood, understands the gesture as something very different—a final attempt to suppress the truth and a cruel insult to the grievously injured.
Will and Testament is a lyrical meditation on trauma and memory, as well as a furious account of a woman’s struggle to survive and be believed. Vigdis Hjorth’s novel became a controversial literary sensation in Norway and has been translated into twenty languages.
Will and Testament
Verso Fiction 2019. New paperback; 336 pages