Nicolai Houm

The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland

Jane Ashlands gradvise forsvinning

She read that it usually ends with you undressing. One last fatal misunderstanding of the situation. So there you are, in your underwear, taut skin blue from the cold, large eyes numb and frozen. And, finally, draped in a shroud of fresh snow that must gently be brushed away once you are found. In the fog, she looks no different than a boulder within arm’s reach. And if she tilts her head to the left, the orange tent covered in white frost begins to look like a mouldy orange.

An American woman wakes up alone in a tent in the Norwegian mountains. Outside there is a storm and the fog is dense. Her cell phone is dead. She doesn’t have a map or a compass or any food. She actually came to Norway to seek out distant relatives, but when her trip goes awry she contacts a zoologist she met by chance on the plane. She ends up accompanying him on a musk oxen hike through the Dovrefjell mountain range, but here too everything goes wrong.
Out of the mist a picture gradually emerges of a past, a personal disaster, and a desperate search for new meaning. Even those you have lost everything, still have something to lose.
In The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland, Houm displays great psychological insight and paints a unique portrait of sadness that is impossible not to be moved by.

Winner of the Norwegian Book Blogger Award 2016 (Best Novel)

Houm jane ashlands gradvise forsvinning hd

“an austerely wrenching and darkly comic novel…a psychological study of the reverberations of trauma, its impact deepens even as its suspense lessens, resulting in a winning novel.”

Publishers Weekly

‘(…) combines both surgically precise observations with the pace and attention to detail as the best tv-series. The similarities with Don De Lillo and Jonathan Franzen cannot be denied.’

Dagens Næringsliv
Houm, nicolai photo paal audestad
Photo: Paal Audestad

Nicolai Houm (b. 1974) wrote his first novel Knekk nakken, min venn (Break Your Neck, Dear Friend) in 2004 to great critical acclaim. Followed by the short story collection Alle barn er laget av ild (All Children Are Made of Fire), which was nominated for the Youth Critics’ Prize. The novel was adapted into film in 2012.

Nicolai Houm’s picture book Når alle sover (When Everyone Is Asleep) was nominated for the Ministry of Culture Picture Book Award. Houm has also translated Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go! together with Geir Nummedal and published short stories and texts in anthologies and magazines in both Norway and the US.

Nicolai Houm’s novel De håpefulle (Here’s What’s Wrong with The Lindebergs) provided his commercial breakthrough in 2013.
Houm has a degree in journalism from the University of Oslo and studied creative writing in Bø. He works part-time as an editor in publishing house Cappelen Damm, and lives in Lier with his wife and daughter.