Cecilie Enger

A Minute’s Silence

Ett minutts stillhet

As a young woman, Åsta Petersen-Cooper left Norway with a desire to put her former life behind her. She brimmed with dreams of an international lifestyle of language, literature and fascinating conversations, and of a happiness in which she could both love and be loved. She’s now 73, living in Warsaw, and in a faltering marriage with a British diplomat. She suffers a stroke which seriously impairs her ability to speak. All she’s left with is the Norwegian of her childhood, which no one around her understands, and far too much time to wonder why life never turned out the way it was meant to.

A Minute’s Silence is a novel about recognition and identity, about which memories live within us and which ones disappear, and about wanting to escape from your own background – and perhaps also from yourself.

Enger ettminuttsstillhet gyldendal

‘Captivating! (…) Following Cecilie Enger’s writings is a joy, this time she delivers a moving novel with characters we believe in and a story that draws us in. (…) well written, well thought through, a fascinating universe well executed.’

VG, 5 out of 6 stars

‘Cecilie Enger writes compellingly about the despair, anger and bitterness of losing one’s grasp of language and one’s ability to speak.’

Dagbladet, 5 out of 6 stars
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Photo: Julie Pike

Cecilie Enger was born in 1963, and has studied history, Norwegian and journalism. Her first novel Necessity was published in 1994 and was warmly received by critics. Her big break came with Mother’s Gifts in 2013, which sold internationally and earned her the Booksellers’ Prize that year. She is perhaps best known for biographical and historically-inspired novels as well as strong portraits of female characters.

Awards and nominations (selected): Cecilie Enger has been awarded the 1994 Nota Bene Cultural Prize and her novel The Henriksen Brothers earned her a Brage Prize nomination in 2000. In 2007, she won the Neshorn (Rhinoceros) Prize, awarded by the daily Klassekampen for the book of the year. The following year she was awarded the Amalie Skram Prize for best female fiction writer, and in 2013 she won the Norwegian Bookseller’s Prize 2013 and was shortlisted for the 2013 Critics’ Prize for Mother’s Gifts.