Bjørn Hatterud

Against Normality

Mot normalt

Against Normality is a book about breaking up, and breaking away – and the art of returning home. A book about social mobility, and belonging to different worlds. And about the demise of the village community, its gasping for air. Poised and intelligent, Hatterud’s uncomplicated pen produces a work of remarkable poignance about what it means to be human in our present-day world.

Against Normality is an odyssey fraught with obstacles and challenges, littered with failures, but also illuminated by glittering prizes. Gay, upwardly mobile, hampered by clubfoot and spina bifida, Hatterud knows what it means to be set apart from the rest. Falling short against the requirements of normality, the author develops his own peculiar strategies to grow as a person – and gradually develop as a musician, art critic, curator and writer.

Hatterud delivers keen and contemplative observations on the village of his childhood and youth, on disability and growing up, his mother and father,
gay culture, the art scene and academic life. Elegant and compelling, Against Normality drills into the seams of structural and personal experience and is, in its every sentence, the work of a consummate reader and writer seeking to navigate in life while being different. It is a triumph about – and for – those who don’t fit. And who among us actually does?

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‘Harbouring feelings of belonging, of love for and pride in a place, at the same time as acknowledging the need to leave it, is no easy matter. But my goodness, what a work of literature it yields!’


‘Hatterud’s book is a brilliant read, showing us how much love and defiance it takes to wrestle free.’
Hatterud, bjørn photo tove breistein
Photo: Tove Breistein

Bjørn Hatterud (b. 1977) is a successful writer, musician and art curator. He grew up in a small Norwegian village community and lives today in Oslo.

Against Normality is an export edition of two critically acclaimed books, Mot normalt (Against Normality) and Mjøsa rundt med mor (Me, Mum and Mjøsa), in which Hatterud writes of his life’s extraordinary trajectory. And of how growing up as an outsider led him to forge a pathway into art, literature and non-mainstream culture – in whose spaces he discovered identity and freedom.