Olaug Nilssen

The One Needful Thing

Yt etter evne, få etter behov

Who will shoulder a responsibility that nobody can really manage?

In The One Needful Thing the reader gains insight into the daily life of a wholly ordinary family that has ceased to be ordinary. Lea lies in bed playing Hay Day on her iPad and wonders whether she has chronic fatigue syndrome. Her sister Rakel balances along a tightrope in her role as the primary care provider for intellectually disabled Benjamin, for whom Lea no longer has the strength to be a mother. Gudrun, the sisters’ mother, is focused on being there for her third daughter Linda and her family. One day when Benjamin is dropped off at home after spending a weekend in respite care, Rakel is not there to receive him.

The One Needful Thing is both humorous and serious, a continuation of the themes explored in A Tale of Terrible Times from 2017: Who will shoulder a responsibility that nobody can really manage in the age of individualism? And can a balance be found between freedom and obligation within the community, or even among the members of the same family?

Winner of the 2020 P2-listeners’ Novel Prize
Nominated for the 2020 Brage Prize, the 2020 Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize and the 2021 Young Readers’ Critics’ Prize

Nilssen yt etter evne, få etter behov 9788234003394

‘Intense and essential reading (…) One of the highlights of the autumn book releases!’

Bergensavisen, 6 out of 6 stars

‘So ruthlessly and compassionately written that the reader gasps for breath. (…) There is no shortage of joie de vivre in Nilssen’s most recent books, but it is communicated through gritted teeth.’

Dagens Næringsliv

‘Enraged and humorous with something important to get off its chest.’

Bergens Tidende, 5 out of 6 stars
Nilssen, olaug photo bent r. synnevåg
Photo: Bent R. Synnevåg

Olaug Nilssen (b. 1977) made her real breakthrough in 2005 with Turn Me On, Dammit (Få meg på, for faen). The book breaks taboos in relation to young people and sexuality and defined a whole generation. Since then she has written books in many genres and made her mark as an unusual and important voice in Norwegian literature.