A New Name
by Jon Fosse
Asle is an aging painter and widower who lives alone on the west coast of Norway. His only friends are his neighbor, Åsleik, a traditional fisherman-farmer, and Beyer, a gallerist who lives in the city. There, in Bjørgvin, lives another Asle, also a painter but lonely and consumed by alcohol. Asle and Asle are doppelgängers—two versions of the same person, two versions of the same life.
In this final installment of Jon Fosse’s Septology, “a major work of Scandinavian fiction” (Hari Kunzru), we follow the lives of the two Asles as younger adults in flashbacks: the narrator meets his lifelong love, Ales; joins the Catholic Church; and makes a living by trying to paint away all the pictures stuck in his mind. A New Name: Septology VI-VII is a transcendent exploration of the human condition, and a radically other reading experience—incantatory, hypnotic, and utterly unique.