Kjærstad, Jan

(1953-)
   A Norwegian novelist and short story writer, Kjærstad has been active both as a writer and as a participant in literary debate. He has been an important presence on the Norwegian parnassus since his debut with the short story collection Kloden dreier stille rundt (1980; The Planet Quietly Rotates). With an advanced degree in theology from the University of Oslo, and having written on the theologians Rudolf Bultmann, Reinholt Niebuhr, and Leszek Kolakowski, Kjærstad writes about such ethical issues as pollution, drugs, and racism. His first novel, Speil: Leseserie fra det 20. arhundre (1982; Mirrors: A Series of Readings from the 20th Century), also takes issue with the contemporary use of technology. His definitive breakthrough, however, came with Homo falsus, eller Det perfekte mord (1984; Homo Falsus; or, The Perfect Murder), which was well received by both the critics and the public. A highly meta-fictive text, it foregrounds its own creation to an extraordinary degree. A young woman named Greta (after the movie actress Greta Garbo) lures three men to their deaths by first sending them letters and then taking them to borrowed apartments, where they disappear physically through sexual acts that have a mystical, and thus unexplained, component that may be labeled tantric. The narrator, who is Greta's fourth victim, barely escapes with his life, but he is later placed in a psychiatric hospital after Greta has taken over as narrator of the book. The question of who is really telling the story, Greta or the narrator, is never resolved.
   Kjærstad's next novel, Det store eventyret (1987; The Great Fairy Tale), turns Oslo into the capital of a country in the developing world, an island located somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Its numerous inter-textual references, unorthodox typography, and mixture of genres made it tough for some critics to accept. Other critics have appreciated it as an interesting example of literary postmodernism.The postmodern features in Rand (1990; Edge) are even more pronounced. A murder mystery with a serious message and carefully constructed characters, it mixes genres and conventions, thus appearing "impure" and confusing to some. But Rand also celebrates Kjærstad's hometown, Oslo, in a manner reminiscent of Knut Hamsun's novel Sult.
   Kjærstad's most significant work is a three-volume fictional biography of one Jonas Wergeland, but each volume presents a different version of the man. Forføreren (1993; tr. The Seducer, 2003), the first volume, is narrated by an Indian ethnographer, who presents Wergeland as a promising young man whom women find very attractive. The second volume, Erobreren (1996; The Conqueror), is narrated by Wergeland s sister, Rakel, who casts him as a famous television personality riddled with personal problems. The third volume, Oppdageren (1999; The Discoverer), is narrated partly by Wergeland himself and partly by his daughter Kristin. By offering multiple perspectives on the subject of the supposed biography, Kjærstad moves readers to reconsider their perception of truth and to abandon the idea that truth is something unchanging or objective. Oppdageren garnered the author the Nordic Literary Prize in 2001.
   Tegn til kjærlighet (2002; Signs of Love) features a graphic designer who, on a quest for the perfect type font, falls in love with a storyteller; she causes him to die because she uses one of his stories for a wildly successful novel she writes. She brings him back to life by wrapping his body in a text, but she still loses him as her lover.
   Kjærstad s fragmented narration and allegorical plot leave the story open to many different interpretations.
   Kjærstad has also published children's books and collections of essays on literature and culture. His essays show that he is very well informed about both contemporary world literature and literary theory.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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  • Kjærstad — Jan Kjærstad (* 6. März 1953 in Oslo) ist ein norwegischer Schriftsteller. Er studierte Theologie an „Det teologiske Menighetsfakultet“ (Theologische Gemeindefakultät der Uni Oslo, kurz MF). Unter seinen zahlreichen Publikationen finden sich… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jan Kjaerstad — Jan Kjærstad (* 6. März 1953 in Oslo) ist ein norwegischer Schriftsteller. Er studierte Theologie an „Det teologiske Menighetsfakultet“ (Theologische Gemeindefakultät der Uni Oslo, kurz MF). Unter seinen zahlreichen Publikationen finden sich… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jan Kjærstad — (* 6. März 1953 in Oslo) ist ein norwegischer Schriftsteller. Er studierte Theologie an „Det teologiske Menighetsfakultet“ (Theologische Gemeindefakultät der Uni Oslo, kurz MF). Unter seinen zahlreichen Publikationen finden sich Romane, Novellen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jan Kjærstad — (Oslo, 6 de marzo de 1953) escritor noruego.[1] [2] Se graduó en teología en la Escuela noruega de teología y la Universidad de Oslo. En 2001 recibió el Premio de Literatura del Consejo Nórdico por su novela Oppdageren. Bibliografía Kloden dreier …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jan Kjærstad — (born March 6, 1953) is a Norwegian author. Kjærstad is a theology graduate from MF Norwegian School of Theology and the University of Oslo (cand. theol.). He has written a string of novels, short stories and essays and was editor of the literary …   Wikipedia

  • Kjærstad —   [ çæːrstaː], Jan, norwegischer Schriftsteller, * Født (bei Oslo) 6. 3. 1953; schreibt nach Tätigkeiten als Pastor, Musiker und Redakeur seit Anfang der 1980er Jahre v. a. Romane, aber auch Novellen, Erzählungen und Essays. Seine vielschichtigen …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Mosjøen Airport, Kjærstad — Mosjøen lufthavn, Kjærstad IATA: MJF – ICAO: ENMS …   Wikipedia

  • Liste norwegischer Autoren — Dies ist eine Übersicht bekannter Schriftsteller der norwegischen Sprache. A Hans Aanrud (1863–1953) Ivar Aasen (1813–1896) Finn Alnæs (1932–1991) Ingvar Ambjørnsen (*1956) Tryggve Andersen (1866–1920) Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812–1885) Kjell… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Liste norwegischer Schriftsteller — Dies ist eine Übersicht bekannter Schriftsteller der norwegischen Sprache. A Hans Aanrud (1863–1953) Ivar Aasen (1813–1896) Finn Alnæs (1932–1991) Ingvar Ambjørnsen (*1956) Tryggve Andersen (1866–1920) Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812–1885) Kjell… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Norwegische Schriftsteller — Dies ist eine Übersicht bekannter Schriftsteller der norwegischen Sprache. A Hans Aanrud (1863–1953) Ivar Aasen (1813–1896) Finn Alnæs (1932–1991) Ingvar Ambjørnsen (*1956) Tryggve Andersen (1866–1920) Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812–1885) Kjell… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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