Girls in Trees
Aunt Magni is to be buried on the island she comes from. That is her self-imposed mission. Her aunt's urn in her luggage, she travels back to the house where she spent the summers of her childhood. Hoping to make amends for old sins, she is confronted with the deceiving squiggles in her family lines, in a landscape where her family have been leading an unfair battle against their lots in life for generations. Searching for closure turns out to be very difficult indeed.
Girls in Trees is an uproarious, devil-may-care, sensuous story of kids who grow up, kids who are hidden, and kids that never existed. It’s a novel of loss and loneliness, but also about the moments of departure and freedom that contain the possibility of a different life.
«Heidi Mittun-Kjos writes about one of the hardest, most important, most unpredictable lessons of life: You don't always get to reap what you sow. But you might get to reap something else entirely. […] The thing that, more than anything else, is breathing life into this novel, is the use of highly specific and local ways of tracking time and place. When talking of the grandparents, the expressions are intimately tied to their time on the island, their culture. It is reminiscent of Matias Faldbakken’s Stakkar (2022), with its country jargon on speed. Mittun-Kjos uses this device way more subtly. The effect is one of a narrator who sees, remembers, and senses her location in a way that is almost unknowingly shaped by the past, the history and her family through generations.»
«Girls in trees is the gripping story of a family, written in a lyrical prose. […] Much is never stated out loud but must be read between the lines. This, too, the author manages masterfully. The result is a gripping and very well-written book.»
«Masterful. […] In Girls in trees, Mittun-Kjos weaves together themes and wordings to create a splendid thicket that it is delightfully difficult to untangle oneself from. The small things in life are elevated to and integrated with the big things in a characteristic and controlled manner, in a forceful story of the value in what is and what will be.»
«Heidi Mittun-Kjos’ second novel is a gripping family saga. […] Each family member contains a universe of their own, a fate as common as it is catastrophic. […] Mittun-Kjos charges these varying components of life with grandeur and melancholy. […] All in all, Girls in trees sticks out from all the rest in this year’s Norwegian book pool, boding well for a continued authorship.»
«The author trusting her style, and thus demand something from the reader, is a great asset. If one patiently registers the qualities of the prose, one ends up finding oneself not with any ordinary family saga in one’s hands, but with an extraordinary one. The characters are conjured by tone and temperature as much as so-called ‘pure description’»
«This smells of prizes and awards! Girls in trees is an exceedingly well-written and well-composed family saga, with a precise use of metaphor and a prose unlike almost anything I’ve read. My warmest recommendations!»