Meet Anders Totland - Selected Title Author

We are happy to present our selected title author Anders Totland. He has written A Prayer for Jacob Juul (original title: Til jord skal du bli). The book is one of NORLA’s Selected Titles of the spring 2023.

Read our interview with Anders here.

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Anders Totland. Photo: Atle Helland

What is the book about?

A Prayer for Jacob Juul is about a retired priest who, in addition to being the leader of the beekeeping association, is also the biggest liquor dealer in the village. Over the course of a few hectic days before Christmas, his life is turned upside down when he becomes a grandfather, widower, and murderer. Complications abound, and it’s up to Jacob to untangle the mess. Luckily, he has a best friend at the sheriff’s office and diverse experience with all kinds of situations from a long life as a priest. This comes in handy when he has to deal with a criminal gang, his own missing son, and a brand new existence as grandfather to little Izzy. The book is a burlesque thriller that will make you smile. At the same time, it’s a warm story about family, friendship, and how far it’s possible to go to protect what you hold dearest.

What inspired you to write this book?

After several serious books with weighty themes, I wanted to write something fun. Something lively and playful – without being constrained by genre conventions or expectations. In that way, this was a little experiment for me. Was it possible to have so much fun writing that it rubs off on the reader? As a reader, I think the most interesting stories are in the borderlands between the funny and the serious, where the light and the heavy waltz together and you might even feel like you shouldn’t have laughed when you laughed – because there is a quivering gravity lying somewhere beneath the surface. At the same time, I love the original characters you can’t help but be fond of no matter how stupid their choices might be. I’ve quite simply tried to write a story where the reader can grow fond of the heroes, crooks and everyone in between. Because what role the individual plays in this story depends entirely on how you read it.

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Photo: Adrian Nielsen/NORLA

Read more

See full presentation of the book here

Read more about the author here

See all NORLA’s Selected Titles for the spring 2023 here