Kjell Askildsen

A Great Deserted Landscape

Et stort øde landskap

A recurring theme in Kjell Askildsen’s short stories is the loneliness and vulnerability of man. In a few pages Askildsen portrays the situation of a person, and with that a whole destiny. In A Great Deserted Landscape Askildsen truly shows his insight into the human mind and his lingustic sensitivity.

Winner of the Norwegian Literary Critics’ Prize 1991.

“In a masterly manner, Askildsen uses an ancient literary device: the aggressive vulnerability. In doing so, he gives the reader no choice but to come along with him until the very last sentence, grateful for an authorship which, despite evident ideals and references, has become such an independent artistry expression… In Askildsen’s work, the humans are – thank God – still secretive and incomprehensive beings, in spite of their exposed exhaustedness”

Askildsen kjell a great deserted landscape

“a fascinating and distinguished work of art (…) It is hardly possible to meet his standards on this, both for Norwegian and foreign writers.”


‘Exclusive, particular, penetrating’

Politiken, Denmark

‘an admirable book (…) Kjell Askildsen is a tremendous author.’

Ekstrabladet, Denmark
Askildsen kjell fotograf finn ståle felberg
Photo: Finn Ståle Felberg

Kjell Askildsen (b. 1929) is regarded a master of short stories. He entered the literary scene in 1953 with the collection of short stories From Now on I’ll Take You All the Way Home. Askildsen’s hallmark is his seemingly plain voice that quivers with a latent desire to communicate, and is frequently couched in a very black and cynical humour which, but for a deep well of irony, might seem dispiriting, even depressive. His human insight and masterly penmanship enable the few words he uses to convey an instantaneous perception of life as it really is, and then to turn that perception into a literary feast. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.