Bjarte Breiteig

The Tøyen Effect

Mona and Jostein, an idealistic young couple, moved to Tøyen when their son Kalle was little. Shortly after arriving there, they started a neighbourhood café to help build a community in what was then the most notorious borough in Oslo. Slowly but surely a network of neighbours seemed to grow up around the café – people of all ages from widely different cultures, who helped each other and felt responsible for their community.

Ten years on, Jostein has lost his spark and his ability to bring people together is dwindling. Mona wonders whether their son is paying the price for their choices and secretly longs to get away from it all. Everything comes to a head when Jostein fails to return from a trip to Copenhagen, and over one intense day and night we follow Mona as Jostein’s disappearance forces her into a reckoning with her family’s situation.

The Tøyen Effect is a penetrating contemporary novel about building a neighbourhood, finding a foothold for love outside the family, and faith in – and doubt about – the power of community.

Breiteig tøyen effekten 9788249523955

‘Impressively composed (…) The Tøyen Effect isn’t just a splendid work of fiction, but a historical chronicle of enormous significance (…) Read this book! Do it!’

NRK Bok - also chosen for the Best Books of 2021 list

‘A shrewd portrait of both the commendable and the petty sides of idealism (…) a remarkably powerful literary read (…)’


‘This novel about Tøyen is an undetonated bomb.’


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