Frode Grytten 

The Day that Nils Vik Died

Den dagen Nils Vik døde

In the heart of Norway, a boat puts out from a pier. We follow Nils Vik on his final voyage. He is an ordinary man, with a simple job: to get people across the fjord with his boat, and to get them back home safely again. But what looks simple, often turns out to be more complicated.

The Day that Nils Vik Died is an elegy to the landscape of the fjords and to the people who cling to it. It’s a novel about a life-long love and the joy of the common and the ordinary. Nils Vik fills his boat with life and stories, as well as a desire to be reunited with his wife, Marta.

Grytten den dagen nils vik døde 9788249526932

The Day That Nils Vik Died is a beautiful, warm, and touching story about the simple and intimate aspects that life consists of, while also offering significant portrayals of friendship, love, and death. It is also a tribute to small communities in transition and sheds light on people who are rarely celebrated. It is a novel about old age and death, but also about what makes life worth living.’

Brage Jury, nomination announcement

‘A warm and poignant declaration of love for a bygone era. For a lifetime, the main character has been a ferryman, bringing people and livestock across the fjord. A captivating novel about life, death, and a lifelong love affair.’


‘Has a more beautiful Norwegian novel about death been written? No.’

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Photo: Helge Skodvin

Frode Grytten (b. 1960) made his debut in 1984 with the poetry collection Start. Since then he has written novels, short stories, poems and children’s books. Songs of the Beehive won Norway’s national book award, the Brage, and was shortlisted for the Nordic Council Literary Prize. Floating Bear (2005) won the Riverton Prize and Rooms by the Ocean, Rooms by the Sea (2007) won the New Norwegian Literary Prize and the Melsom Prize. In 2023, Grytten published his first novel in 10 years, The Day That Nils Vik Died. The book won great acclaim and went on to win the Brage Prize.