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Tor Ulven is one of the most renowned Norwegian authors of the twentieth century, beginning his career writing poetry and ending it with unclassifiable explorations of the possibilities of prose, reminiscent of writers such as Ingeborg Bachmann and Peter Handke. Replacement, his only novel, published two years before Ulven’s suicide, is a miniature symphony, wherein the perspectives of unrelated characters are united into what seems a single narrative voice: each personality, directing the book in turn; each replacing its predecessor and forming another link in a chain leading nowhere. These people reminisce, reflect, observe, and talk to themselves; each stuck in their respective traps, each dreaming of escape. A masterpiece of compression and confession, Replacement dramatizes the tension between the concrete realities we think we cannot alter, and our interior lives, where we feel anything might still be possible.

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