Before I Burn
by Gaute Heivoll, Norway.
translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
In 1970's Norway an arsonist targets a small town for one long, terrifying month, and one by one, buildings go up in flames. Suspicion spreads among the neighbors. Who is responsible? During this time a young boy is born, and amid the chaos, only a day before the last house is burned, the community draws together for the christening of a young boy named Gaute Heivoll. As he grows up, stories about the time of fear and fire become deeply ingrained in his young mind, until, as an adult, he begins to retell the story. The lives of Heivoll's friends and neighbors mix with his own life, and the arsonist's motivations are slowly revealed.
Based on the true account of Norway's most dramatic arson case, and winner of the Brage Prize, Norway's most prestigious literary award.
Hardcover, 312pp. 2010, translated 2013.