The Other Name: Septology I-II by Jon Fosse, translated by Damion Searls / ISBN 9781945492402 / 336-page paperback from Transit Books
New York Times Editors' Choice
Longlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize
“Fosse’s fusing of the commonplace and the existential, together with his dramatic forays into the past, make for a relentlessly consuming work: already Septology feels momentous.”—The Guardian
"Fosse’s portrait of intersecting lives is that rare metaphysical novel that readers will find compulsively readable.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"With Septology, Fosse has found a new approach to writing fiction, different from what he has written before and—it is strange to say, as the novel enters its fifth century—different from what has been written before. Septology feels new."—Wyatt Mason, Harper's
"I hesitate to compare the experience of reading these works to the act of meditation. But that is the closest I can come to describing how something in the critical self is shed in the process of reading Fosse, only to be replaced by something more primal. A mood. An atmosphere. The sound of words moving on a page." —Ruth Margalit, The New York Review of Books
The Other Name follows the lives of two men living close to each other on the west coast of Norway. The year is coming to a close and Asle, an aging painter and widower, is reminiscing about his life. He lives alone, his only friends being his neighbor, Åsleik, a bachelor and traditional Norwegian fisherman-farmer, and Beyer, a gallerist who lives in Bjørgvin, a couple hours’ drive south of Dylgja, where he lives. There, in Bjørgvin, lives another Asle, also a painter. He and the narrator are doppelgangers—two versions of the same person, two versions of the same life.
Written in hypnotic prose that shifts between the first and third person, The Other Name calls into question concrete notions around subjectivity and the self. What makes us who we are? And why do we lead one life and not another? Through flashbacks, Fosse deftly explores the convergences and divergences in the lives of both Asles, slowly building towards a decisive encounter between them both. A writer at the zenith of his career, with The Other Name, the first two volumes in his Septology, Fosse presents us with an indelible and poignant exploration of the human condition that will endure as his masterpiece.