Frode Grytten - Selected Title Author

We are happy to present our selected title author Frode Grytten. He has written The Day that Nils Vik Died (original title: Den dagen Nils Vik døde). The book is one of NORLA’s Selected Titles of the spring 2024.

Frode grytten 2023 helge skodvin
Frode Grytten. Foto: Helge Skodvin

What is your book about?

That’s an easy one: the premise of the novel is laid out in the title; it’s about the last day of a man’s life. Nils Vik wakes up a quarter past five one morning, and the novel follows him through the rest of the day. This is the brief time frame of the book. Nils has worked as a ferryman in a fjord in western Norway, and today, he takes one last journey with his boat. He decides he’s going to drive out into the fjord with his dead dog and disappear for good. But then things become much more difficult, because this day stirs up all sorts of questions – questions about the life that has been lived – which means the novel also spans several decades. The dead are also awakened today, people who want to come aboard Nils’ boat and have their say. It’s also about whether Nils will get to see his dearly beloved wife, Marta, again.

What inspired you to write this book?

That’s also an easy question to answer. My maternal grandfather, Fredrik Moss, was a ferryman in Ølve at the outer part of the Hardanger Fjord in western Norway. He ferried high and low across the fjord – priests, doctors, patients, schoolchildren, men and women, young and old, goats and sheep. The novel isn’t a portrait of my grandfather, but the idea for the book came from my trips aboard his boat. About five or six years ago, I wrote a short text for my grandfather after hearing Kate Rusby sing “Bring Me A Boat”. It opened up the material for me, and then it dawned on me that there was material for a whole novel. The ferryman is a mythological figure, but being a ferryman was also a very concrete profession in the past; the ferryman was a person who stitched small communities together, taking people here and there before cars, roads, bridges, and larger boats took over the job and made the profession history.

Read more

See full presentation of the book here

Read more about the author here

See all NORLA’s Selected Titles for the spring 2024 here