Obrestad, Tor (1938-)

   A Norwegian novelist, short story writer, and poet, Obrestad was one of the most active members of the Norwegian Profil group. He started out as a rather traditional late modernist, publishing both a collection of poetry, Kollisjon (1966; Collision), and a volume of short stories, Vind (1966; Wind). Writing in nynorsk, Obrestad showed that he had learned from Arne Garborg and Tarjei Vesaas. With the poetry collections Vårt daglige brød (1968; Our Daily Bread) and Den norske løve (1970; The Norwegian Lion), as well as the novel Marionettar (1969; Marionettes), he showed that he had made the transition to Marxist-Leninism that his colleague Dag Solstad celebrated in Arild Asnes, 1970. Obrestad's revolutionary fervor is on display in his documentary novel Sauda! Streik! (1972; Sauda! Strike!), which tells the story of a strike in the industrial community in western Norway that Kjartan Fløgstad has memorialized as Lovra. Other volumes in praise of revolution are the poetry collections Sauda og Shanghai (1973; Sauda and Shanghai) and Staå saman (1974; Stand Together), the short story collection Tolken (1975; The Interpreter), and the novel Sta pa! (1976; Hang In There!).
   Like many other writers of his generation, Obrestad became less strident in the 1980s. A love story is an important component of the novel Ein gong ma du seie adjø (1981; Someday You Must Say Good-Bye), and a volume of stories and other prose texts entitled Sjaå Jæren, gamle Jæren (1982; Look at Jæren, Old Jæren) is in many ways a declaration of love for this district in southwestern Norway. The poetry collection Misteltein (1988; Mistletoe) was followed by the novel Seks netter, seks dagar (1989; Six Nights, Six Days) and the short story collection Forsøk pa a halda fast tida (1993; Attempting to Make Time Stay Put) as well as a volume of poetry entitled Mimosa Myosotis Rosmarin (1994; Mimosa, Myosotis, Rosemary). Jæren: eld og blaått (1997; Jæren: Fire and Blue) contains poems in praise of Obrestad's home district, while the novel Bernhards mor (1998; Bernhard's Mother) focuses on questions of identity and marriage.
   Kvinnene i Casablanca (2002; The Women of Casablanca) is a collection of 14 stories set in Europe, North Africa, and China. Obrestad has also written children's books, published many volumes of literature in translation, and produced biographies of such canonical Norwegian writers as Arne Garborg and Alexander Kielland.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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