“Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002) is one of history’s most famous scientists, adventurers and champions of the environment. The Kon-Tiki Museum houses original boats and exhibits from Thor Heyerdahl’s world famous expeditions. The museum is home to permanent exhibitions about: Ra, Tigris, Fatu-Hiva, Kon-Tiki, and Easter Island,” along with short-term exhibitions, a cave tour, an underwater exhibition, movie theatre, and souvenir shop. Open year round, travel information can be found on The Kon-Tiki Museum website.
Norway celebrates its Nobel Prize-winning author, Sigrid Undset, at Bjerkebæk, the home she lived in from 1919 until her death in 1949. For hours, fees, directions, and other information, visit the website for Bjerkebæk and other nearby museums.
The farmstead where Petterson and his wife Pia live with their sheep and chickens is reached by driving through a whitened landscape, across the Glomma river which, he tells visitors, separates the urban sphere from the ‘back bus’. Asked the name of the area, he replies: ‘I say I live in the woods, near the Swedish border.’ The couple moved from the city a dozen years ago, with Pia's children from an earlier union. (It is also Petterson's second marriage.) ‘When we first came, it was so cold the duvet stuck to the wall.’ Now there is heating piped into each room and a cat or dog under every chair. – from “A Life in Writing: Per Petterson,” by James Campbell, The Guardian
Out Stealing Horses: a Novel, by Per Petterson, translated by Anne Born (New York: Picador, 2008; first published in Norway in 2003)
Still mourning the death of his wife three years earlier, sixty-seven-year-old Trond Sander moves from the city to a remote cabin in the hopes of finding peace and solitude, but when his nearest neighbor turns out to be someone from his distant past, memories invade his escape. All the “turbulence, grief, and…overwhelming beauty of his youth,” during summers spent with his father in a remote, stunningly evoked, Eastern Norwegian landscape, engulf Sander and readers. Out Stealing Horses deserves all the awards and praise it’s received.
The sun was high in the sky now, it was hot under the trees, it smelt hot, and from everywhere in the forest around us there were sounds; of beating wings, of branches bending and twigs breaking, and the scream of a hwak and a hare’s last sigh, and the tiny muffled boom each time a bee hit a flower. I heard the ants crawling in the heather, and the path we followed rose with the hillside; I took deep breaths through my nose and thought that no matter how life should turn out and however far I traveled I would always remember this place as it was just now, and miss it. When I turned round I could see across the valley through a lattice of fir and pine, I saw the river winding and glittering below, I saw the red-tiled roof of Barkald’s sawmill further south by the river bank and several small farmsteads on the green patches beside the narrow band of water. I knew the families who lived in them and knew how many people there were in each house, and if I did not see our cottage on the far bank I could point out exactly behind which trees it lay, and I wondered if my father was still asleep, or if he was walking around looking for me and without worrying wondering where I had gone, whether I would come home soon, whether perhaps he should start making breakfast, and I could suddenly feel how hungry I was. – from Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson
“He is a short, wiry man with an easy grin and the kind of weather-beaten face that might make you think 'sailor' or 'forest ranger' if you didn't know he was an Oslo-bred writer of prose. In Manhattan for a quick visit -- a couple of readings, a reception at the Norwegian consulate -- he sips a Coke in the courtyard of his small hotel and talks, in excellent English, about books and writing and how he came to be who he is.” – from “Per Petterson Out Stealing Horses,” by Bob Thompson
“Beatles, published in 1984, was Christensen's breakthrough book, achieving enormous success in Norway. It launched him on the journey to the pre-eminence he now enjoys, and which spread throughout Europe with his best-selling family epic The Half-Brother. He has come to London for a conference at University College on Norwegian writing, and to celebrate the publication – in a fine English translation by Don Bartlett – of his latest novel, The Model (Arcadia, £11.99).” – from “Interview: Norway’s Literary Superstar Lars Saabye Christensen,” by Paul Binding, The Independent
Oslo’s Ibsen Museum is housed in the mansion where Henrik Ibsen spent the last years of his life, from 1891 to 1901. The museum is divided into two parts. A “comprehensive exhibit” features Ibsen’s “life and work,” while guided tours of his fourth floor apartment, with “original furniture as well as the original fixtures, décor and colours,” invite visitors “backstage” into Ibsen’s “private life.” For visitor information, see the Ibsen Museum website.
“Today Ibsen's wedding of tragedy to the ethical dilemmas and unadorned rhetoric of middle-class characters seems like the necessary prelude to modern drama, from George Bernard Shaw to Arthur Miller. Within his stuffed Victorian living rooms, the Norwegian playwright championed free-thinking, if flawed, heroes over both the conformist masses and self-aggrandizing authorities. His signature metaphors of corruption and contagion — along with the violent undertow in his works, informed by the upheavals of 19th-century Europe — retain their relevance.” – from “Ibsen’s Relevance and Influence Endure,” by Julia M. Klein, The Chronicle of Higher Education