A Practical Person High resolution image
Publication year: 2020
96 pages
1. edition

A Practical Person

Liv Indrebø wants a place of her own and to become a practical person. She buys a secluded smallholding so she can work outside and put the old house back into use. At the museum she struggles to believe in the words she has been employed to produce. In her the dream of physical work and of being useful is stronger than it is in her boyfriend, Stein, a popular physiotherapist who lives in a housing development in central Avdalen. At midsummer, American relatives of Norwegians long-since emigrated come to visit, and people gather at the farm. The bonfire burns. But is Liv about to lose sight of her heartfelt attempt to manage on her own?

A Practical Person is a taut and concise novel about not going to seed in a landscape ripe for conservation. History is kept at a safe distance, but what about life in practice? Can a woman manage to transform chaos into order on her own? And how do you love something that you don’t need?


“Rorgemoen is an author who has a sense for the fractures, the paradoxes and the absurdities of life; in those places where words and actions begin to separate, or where conviction and practice collide, she examines the surface fractures – not in a malicious way, but rather with wonder and even a wry smile. In short, it’s a pleasure to read about the messed-up and weird – but all the same recognisable – people she portrays.”  Marta Norheim, NRK 

“Even though it’s a novel barely ninety pages long, A Practical Person is impressively good at letting people and events epitomise aspects of the Zeitgeist. One example is how the yearning for the rural, the bygone and the authentic builds upon a dearth of contact with reality. A Practical Person provides a recognisable and detailed portrait of the times we live in that will also make it historically interesting for posterity.” Five out of six stars. Gro Jørstad Nilsen, Bergens Tidende   

“It’s the main character’s thoughts and phrasing that make Kjersti Rorgemoen’s new book worth reading.”  Bernard Ellefsen, Morgenbladet

“Kjersti Rorgemoen’s prose brings together extraordinarily intimate language with a profound gaze at the exterior and interior of the Norwegian landscape and mentality […] The longing for the historically unique as a confirmation of an imagined identity flows through the text. At the same time the narrator is reflective enough to realise that such a longing encounters theoretical and practical obstacles, to put it gently. Distinctive to Rorgemoen’s language – including in this novel – is the discrete use of foreign words, the remains of years-long studies at a higher level. Certain parts appear ponderous, with a parodying of the language of cultural bureaucratic officialdom that recalls Thure Erik Lund’s best novels. And there’s no higher praise than that.”   Tom Egil Hverven, Klassekampen 

“One of this spring’s wittiest and sharpest novels.”  Ellen Sofie Lauritzen, Dagens Næringsliv