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Biblioasis Winter 2021

White Shadow
By (author): Roy Jacobsen Translated by: Don Bartlett Translated by: Don Shaw
Roy Jacobsen ,

Translated by :

Don Bartlett ,

Translated by :

Don Shaw





Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Apr 06, 2021
$22.95 CAD


7.6in x 5.3 x 0.68 in | 320 gr

Page Count:

272 pages
FICTION / Historical / 20th Century / World War II
Historical fiction|Second World War fiction|Narrative theme: Interior life|c 1938 to c 1946 (World War Two period)

The highly anticipated sequel to International Booker and Dublin Impac Award-shortlisted The Unseen

No-one can be alone on an island . . . But Ingrid is alone on Barrøy, the island that bears her name, and the war of her childhood has been replaced by a new, more terrible present: the Nazi occupation of Norway. When the bodies from a bombed vessel carrying Russian prisoners of war begin to wash up on the shore, Ingrid can’t know that one will not only be alive, but could be the answer to a lifetime of loneliness—nor can she imagine what suffering she will endure in hiding her lover from the German authorities, or the journey she will face, after being wrenched from her island as consequence for protecting him, to return home. Or especially that, surrounded by the horrors of battle, among refugees fleeing famine and scorched earth, she will receive a gift, the value of which is beyond measure.

The highly anticipated follow-up to Roy Jacobsen’s International Booker and Dublin Impac Award-shortlisted The Unseen, a New York Times New and Noteworthy book, White Shadow is a vividly observed exploration of conflict, love, and human endurance.

  • Follow-up volume to the International Booker-shortlisted The Unseen, which was an April 2020 Indie Next and Powell’s Indiespnsible pick and selected by book clubs at top indies, including Point Reyes. The Unseen sold over 2000 copies in North America n its first 90 days. During a pandemic.
  • Jacobsen’s previous work has received widespread praise from international media, including The Guardian, New European, and Financial Times. For Irish Times, Eileen Battserby calls The Unseen “easily one of the best books I have ever read.”
  • Contemporary social and political relevance: a story about an individual impacted by national and global change and the difficult choice between surviving a greater evil and working actively against it.

  • Born in Oslo to a family that came from northern Norway, Roy Jacobsen has twice been nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literary Award. He is the author of more than fifteen novels and is a member of the Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Dublin Impac Award for his novel The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles. Another novel, Child Wonder, won the Norwegian Booksellers' Prize and was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. The Unseen, the first of a series of novels about Ingrid and her family, was a phenomenal bestseller in Norway and was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize and the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award, selected as a 2020 Indie Next pick in North America, and named a New York Times New and Noteworthy book. White Shadow, the second Barrøy novel, was published in North America by Biblioasis in 2021.

    Praise for White Shadow

    "Richer, even more provocative ... The heroine of Roy Jacobsen’s White Shadow knows every inch of her home turf, a tiny island off the coast of northern Norway that her people have inhabited for generations. To get a full sense of what it’s like to subsist on Barrøy and how 35-year-old Ingrid comes to be living there alone, it helps to read The Unseen, the first volume in Jacobsen’s trilogy, which has also been translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw. But even without that background, the novel’s account of Ingrid’s experience of World War II is unsettlingly easy to follow."—Alida Becker, New York Times

    "White Shadow retains many of The Unseen’s pleasures, not least Jacobsen’s clean, spare prose . . . a noble tribute to the human struggle for decency."—Daniel Marc Janes, Times Literary Supplement

    "With every sentence in his new novel, Roy Jacobsen shows how his characters carve their morality out of the dried driftwood found on the small islands of war-ravaged Norway. White Shadow is yet another masterpiece by Jacobsen, who continues in this short novel to track the vicissitudes of the life of his young heroine Ingrid Barrøy ... White Shadow is a powerful psychological novel."—World Literature Today

    "Seldom do we find a protagonist who pushes against her confinement as subtlety and deftly as Ingrid does, and who allows herself, while trapped in circumstances that are beyond her control, to be so open, inquisitive, and even loving. In White Shadow Jacobson offers a portrait of a woman who is single-minded but not rigidly so, purposeful but not devoid of feeling ... The intensity of feeling just beyond the actions described, and the effort itself of forging language to capture their evanescent reality, seems like a literary accomplishment in the family of more overtly “sophisticated” novelists like Thomas Bernhard or W. G. Sebald."—Book Post

    “An unsentimental story that combines the cosmic with bracing emotional austerity.”—Claire Allfree, Daily Mail

    "Disarmingly plainspoken narration brings into sharp relief both individuals and a world in wartime crisis."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "A powerful read."—David Mills, Sunday Times

    "A beautifully written and profoundly moving exploration of conflict, love and human endurance."—St. Catherines Standard

    Praise for The Unseen

    "Even by his high standards, his magnificent new novel The Unseen is Jacobsen's finest to date, as blunt as it is subtle and is easily among the best books I have ever read."—Irish Times

    "A beautifully crafted novel . . . Quite simply a brilliant piece of work . . . Rendered beautifully into English by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw, The Unseen is a towering achievement that would be a deserved Booker International winner."—New European

    "A profound interrogation of freedom and fate, as well as a fascinating portrait of a vanished time, written in prose as clear and washed clean as the world after a storm.”—The Guardian

    "The subtle translation, with its invented dialect, conveys a timeless, provincial voice . . . The Unseen is a blunt, brilliant book."—Financial Times

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    Also Available

    Unseen Roy Jacobsen 9781771963190 $22.95 CAD Apr 21, 2020
    Book Cover
    Child Wonder Roy Jacobsen 9781555975951 $16.50 CAD Sep 30, 2011

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