Edvard Hoem

A Haymaker in Heaven

Slåttekar i himmelen

Edvard Hoem’s great-grandfather was called Knut Hansen Nesje, but everyone just called him Nesje. This novel begins outside Molde in 1874 where Nesje, a widower of two years with a son to take care of, is working as a haymaker. Then Serianna comes along. She smokes a pipe and takes him fishing for pollock, and they fall in love. Soon they get married and have children.

Just like Nesje and Serianna, most people live a life of hard work connected to the earth and fjord. But a new option is opening up – more and more people are selling the few things they own and making the dangerous and exciting trip to America. Serianna’s sister, Gjertine, dreams of going, even though she is still young. News comes from the three Stavig brothers who are now living “over there” of an indescribably beautiful landscape with strange animals, and the hard work involved in setting up your own farm. Nesje is all grown up with five children and thinks he should stay where he is.

Nesje still doesn’t have his own farm, and when a childless couple from Bortegården farm shows an interest in his son, Anton Edvard, Nesje doesn’t see any other option than ensuring his son’s future by letting them have him. The loss of his son has a profound effect on him.

A Haymaker in Heaven is an inspired and moving novel about new and old landscapes, work, pride and love, being willing to take risks and making big sacrifices.

Edvard hoem a haymaker in heaven

“A master in action (…) A magnificent piece of writing about the American dream (…) an unusually fine-tuned written narrative.”


“Hoem is a gifted storyteller. The simple, efficient language works whether he is depicting nature, the weather or people encountering love.”


‘Hoem, drawing from his own family history, masterfully distills the seismic shifts of emigration into the poignant farewells of one family.’

Hoem edvard paal audestad
Photo: Paal Audestad

Edvard Hoem was born in 1949, and made his debut in 1969. Since then he has published a number of novels, and has been nominated for the Nordic Critics’ Literary Prize four times, for the novels The Ferry Crossing, Probation, Ave Eva and Mother’s and Father’s Story.

In addition to this, Edvard Hoem has written plays, essays and he has translated seven of William Shakespeare’s plays into Norwegian, among them Othello and King Lear.

Hoem’s books have been sold to nine countries. He received the Language Prize 2013, and in 2014 he published his first novel in nine years. He was longlisted for the P2 Listener’s Prize for his 2015 novel A Haymaker in Heaven.