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