A Shining

Jon Fosse, Damion Searls (trans.)

A Shining
Fitzcarraldo Editions
United Kingdom
19 March 2024

A Shining

Jon Fosse, Damion Searls (trans.)

Winner of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature

A man starts driving without knowing where he is going. He alternates between turning right and left, and finally he gets stuck at the end of a forest road. Soon it gets dark and starts to snow, but instead of going back to find help, he ventures, foolishly, into the dark forest. Inevitably, the man gets lost, and as he grows cold and tired, he encounters a glowing being amid the obscurity. Strange, haunting and dreamlike, A Shining is the latest work of fiction by Jon Fosse, ‘the Beckett of the twenty-first century’ (Le Monde).

A Shining can be read in many ways: as a realistic monologue; as a fable; as a Christian-inflected allegory; as a nightmare painstakingly recounted the next morning, the horror of the experience still pulsing under the words, though somewhat mitigated by the small daily miracle of daylight. I think the great splendour of Fosse’s fiction is that it so deeply rejects any singular interpretation; as one reads, the story does not sound a clear singular note, but rather becomes a chord with all the many possible interpretations ringing out at once. This refusal to succumb to the solitary, the stark, the simple, the binary – to insist that complicated things like death and God retain their immense mysteries and contradictions – seems, in this increasingly partisan world of ours, a quietly powerful moral stance.’ — Lauren Groff, Guardian

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