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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

(Trilogy - 3)

Jon Fosse

general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Weariness

Title: Weariness
Author: Jon Fosse
Genre: Novel
Written: 2014 (Eng. 2016)
Length: 39 pages
Original in: Norwegian
Availability: in: Trilogy - US
in: Trilogy - UK
in: Trilogy - Canada
Au tomber de la nuit - France
in: Trilogie - Deutschland
  • Norwegian title: Kveldsvævd
  • Translated by May-Brit Akerholt
  • Part three of Trilogy, which consists of:
    1. Wakefulness (2007)
    2. Olav's Dreams (2012)
    3. Weariness (2014)

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Our Assessment:

(-) : fine final turn in the trilogy

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
NRK . 20/1/2014 Knut Hoem

  From the Reviews:
  • "Kveldsvævd gjengir en forgangen verden av religiøse og moralske forestillinger som kan føles fremmede, men som kanskje er mer tilstede den dag i dag enn det nåtidsmenneskene vil erkjenne. (...) Alt dette i en type litteratur som har den utpregete fordelen den ikke ligner på noe annet av det som skrives ellers i Norge eller i verden forøvrig." - Knut Hoem, NRK

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Weariness is the final, and shortest, volume in Fosse's Trilogy. It is (mainly) set many years after the events of Olav's Dreams and begins with Ales -- Alida's daughter. Ales herself is already old, with six grown children, all off on their own, and find herself seeing her long-dead mother more often now, in the quiet of the house.
       Alida never spoke of her Asle -- "she never wanted to say anything about Asle and what happened" -- but clearly carried the trauma with her. Weariness then also looks back at what became of Alida, after Asle was hanged for his crimes, packing up all her things abandoning her home and venturing to Bjørgvin when Asle did not return home from his errands, and then finding herself without a roof over her head, alone with her infant son Sigvald on the streets (echoing Alse and Alida's first arrival in the town, as recounted in Wakefulness).
       On the streets of Bjørgvin, Alida is recognized by Åsleik, a man from Vika, at Dylgja, where Asle and Alida grew up. Åsleik is several years older than her, so they never really knew each other, but he remembers the girl; he buys her a meal, and then offers her a position in his empty household and takes her back home with him; "Yes where else can I go, Alida says", defeated and desperate. This is the life Alida settles into, including raising another child, Ales, Sigvald's half-sister. Not a bad life, but also one that can never dispel the dark cloud of the trauma of her lost love.
       There are other echoes of the past, too: Sigvald becomes passionate about fiddling, losing himself completely in it when Åsleik grants him his greatest wish and brings one back for him one day. There's also the bracelet that Alida finds on the streets of Bjørgvin, the one Asle wanted to give her -- a small connection between the two lovers.
       Åsleik is kind and generous -- though also somewhat creepy in how he broaches the subject of Asle and his fate, suggesting Alida must have known both what he did, and then what happened to him, even as she doesn't want to deal with it. Yet it's unavoidable, of course -- and ultimately became too much for her, leading to her own tragic death, which now becomes all too real for Ales.
       Weariness covers much more than the previous two installments of the trilogy: the youngsters of the previous stories had so little history, but Weariness covers more than a whole lifetime. Here, too, there is a mix of domestic satisfaction and happiness and tragedy, darkness and light. If much of the action is concentrated on Åsleik and Alida, and Alida following him -- a matter of a few hours -- there's also a broad, grand sweep of time and life, with significant details and passages often slipped in almost incidentally in the narrative. It makes for an effective grand story, and it nicely sums up all that happened -- making for a very weighty story, especially given how short it actually is. Fosse compacts his storytelling well -- deceptively so, in part, as so much just seems simple repetition (though always with variations ...), so much just the simplest exchanges .....
       A fine final turn to this very dark and melancholy story.

- M.A.Orthofer, 7 August 2018

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Weariness: Reviews: Jon Fosse: Other books by Jon Fosse under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Jon Fosse was born in 1959. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2023.

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© 2018-2023 the complete review

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