Jon Fosse: Melancholia II (Melancholy II)

The latest addition to my website is Jon Fosse‘s Melancholia II (Melancholy II), a coda to his Melancholy, about the very real Norwegian painter Lars Hertervig. In this novel, Lars has died earlier in the year and we follow a day in the life of Oline his older sister. Oline is old, a widow and in not very good heath. She struggles through the day – her sister-in-law, for example, tells her that her other brother, Sivert, is dying – but spends much time reminiscing. She cannot remember who her many grandchildren are but she does remember Lars and his strange behaviour as a child and, indeed, as an adult. She also remembers her father’s at times irrational behaviour and the conflicts between father and son. But her time is coming near and it is her aching feet and her incontinence that also preoccupy her. Yes, it is a follow-up to the story of Lars but also about an old woman coming to the end of her life.

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