Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jon Fosse - Melancholy (1995)

Jon Fosse, Norwegian author, playwright, poet, etc. has been referred to by some as a modern Ibsen for his prolific body of work over the years. Sadly, he isn't very well known in the states, but in Norway, he is one of the most famous writers, and deservedly so. My first impression from reading Melancholy was that it read like what I would imagine Gary Wilson's journal would real like. The prose is simple, repetitive, and at first, a little annoying. But once I got acquainted with the working of troubled artist Lars Hertervig's mind, and began to read more 'vicariously,' I could not put the book down. Melancholy is an intelligently written, but entirely non-analytical, look at schizophrenia, unlike say, Jung's The Red Book or Schreber's Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, and Fosse's ability to 'wear the shoes' of his central character makes this novel great. It's interesting, funny, and sad all at once, like any good novel should be.

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