Love by Hanne Ørstavik, Norway.
Translated from the Norwegian by Martin Aitken.
The story of a young mother and her son who have just moved to a remote small town in the north of Norway. The mother, caught up in her own concerns, has forgotten that it's the day before her son's ninth birthday. Wrapped up in her own dream world, she ventures to the local library, leaving him to wander the town, selling lottery tickets and visiting the homes of strangers. Sparse, glinting prose narrates the events of a single night, alternating between the characters' experiences, their most intimate thoughts snake around each other, as if pursuing an elusive warmth and affection. As suspense builds, mother and son wander ever closer to tragedy in this icy nocturne of a novel.