1 September 2019 Susannah

Meeting Gunnar Staalesen

A major highlight of my recent literary tour of Scandinavia was a guided walk in Norway’s lovely city of Bergen, led by crime writer Gunnar Staalesen, who is an utterly charming and delightful man as well as a fantastic writer.

Gunnar showed us places associated with the murders his private investigator, the unusually named Varg Veum, has to solve, as well as introducing us to other Norwegian writers (the fascinating Amalie Skram, Ibsen, playwright Ludwig Holberg, etc). I love Gunnar’s novels and can strongly recommend them. Varg is an unhappy fellow who drinks too much aquavit (you can buy a Varg Veum Aquavit), but the novels include lots of contemporary issues, are extremely well written, and have a fabulous setting in Bergen. Try At Night All Wolves are Grey, Where Roses Never Die or The Consorts of Death. Gunnar’s novels have been translated into several languages, and have been filmed in Norway.

Near the Bergen waterfront stands a statue of Varg Veum, just outside the building where his fictional office is situated. What a compliment to a wonderful author! My photo shows me, Gunnar and Varg together. No corpses in sight, so two of us are smiling!

Have you read any of Gunnar Staalesen’s novels? If so, what’s your favourite? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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Comments (2)

  1. Dear Susannah,
    Our discussion group is doing a course on Scandinavia and Holberg was our first lecture with Robert Forgács.
    Anyway I was reporter but I was so impressed by Holberg that I did an introduction of the history and geography of Scandinavia, to create the setting for our talk. It was fascinating.
    I envy your trip but love your feedback.
    Kind Regards
    GwynBurns

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I am so impressed, Gwyn – you are one of the very few people I’ve met who has actually heard of Holberg! Most of my tour group did not know of him. It was interesting that the Norwegians claim him (he was born in Norway), but the Dames also claim him because he spent much of his life there. How interesting that you wrote about him for your book group.

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