Travel with Norwegian literature

The Norwegians read more books in average than any other country does, as several international studies have shown. Is it because of the long and dark winters? Or just because of the extremely talented writers this country is home to? Either way, the Norwegians have written some masterpieces. Take them with you in your backpack: as an out-of-the-box travel guide or as a pleasant way of spending some lazy evenings on your trip! Here are the best tips for a literary trip around Norway.

The mysteries of the south coast

One summer, in a little town by the Norwegian coast, a stranger steps off the boat. His name is Johan Nagel, and during the months of his stay, he will be scandalising the entire village, sending strange letters to himself and flirting with two women at the same time. Who is he, and what does he want from the villagers? The Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun got inspired by the towns on the Norwegian south coast while writing his masterpiece Mysteries (1892), one of the greatest modernist novels ever written. Take a trip to the gentile coast towns, and try to find out what the villagers are up to! Stay for example at our hostels in Lista and Mandal.

Knut Hamsun, Norway’s legendary writer – photo: Jayneandd

Speak with birds in Telemark

One of the most beautiful and heart breaking Norwegian novels must be The Birds (1957) by Tarjei Vesaas. Living in his cottage in the mountains of northern Telemark, Vesaas’ novels reflect the natural beauty of this region. In this book Vesaas writes with much love and tenderness about Mattis, a mentally challenged man living with his sister in the forests. His biggest strength? He can speak with birds! To explore the mountains of Telemark, stay at our hostel in Rauland.

Rauland during summer – photo: RaulandTurist

Solving the murders in Bergen

There is more to Bergen than meets the eye: the inhabitants are murdurous above average. At least, in the novels of Gunnar Staalensen. Luckily for us travelling there, there is Varg Veum, the hero of the extremely popular book series with the same name. As a true superman, chasing murderers and criminals through the narrow streets of Bergen, he tries to solve the mysteries while risking his own life. You’re not really a reader? Then you can watch the Varg Veum film series. If you stay at our hostel Bergen Montana, our host will make sure you are safe!

Family secrets in Oslo

In the novel The Half Brother (2001) by Lars Saabye Christensen, we dive into the story of a West End Oslo family, from the last war and onward. Besides from being a fantastic story of love, hate, and everything in between, it sketches a beautiful picture of Oslo. NRK, the Norwegian television, made a beautiful film series of this classic book in 2013.

A statue in the Vigeland Park, Oslo – photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

By the fire, in the fjords

The Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse is the most staged living playwright in the world, his plays premiering in New York and Berlin. Even though he’s most famous for his drama’s, he’s written some extremely beautiful novels as well. One of his absolute best is called Aliss at the Fire (2004). It tells of a dark evening in a village in the fjords, and of a woman sitting by the fire, thinking about the lover that left her. A heart breaking story, ideal for a cold and rainy night, at the fire in one of our hostels in the western fjords…

The ideal place for a read – photo: Víctor Vélez

Photo top: Harald Groven

written by Robin Van de Walle

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