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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Ballad of a Broken Nose by Arne Svingen

Ballad of a Broken NoseA heart-breaking and a nose-breaking fiction from Norway

Arne Svingen has received many awards for his writing which entails all age groups including adults. However, this is the first time that his work has been translated into English. Perhaps you might detect a nice "flow" and a different "rhythm". When you come across the Norwegian currency, kroner, just pretend that you pronounce it "crew' nah".

Bart is going to be thirteen. To start things off, he was named after Bart Simpson so that he would be a funny wise guy that could get by in life. Bart needs all the help he can. He does not know who his father is; neither does his mother. They live in a slum apartment complex among drug users. His mother has her own problems of alcohol, weight, poverty, etc. The only other person in his life is one grandmother who doesn't want to interfere. Bart takes boxing lessons to prevent bullying, but he can't hit. His only way to cope is to sing opera in the shower. He surprises himself and gets stuck signing up for the year-end talent show. He didn't want to - a girl that can't keep a secret is so amazed with his singing that she makes him sign up. The teacher hears the CD and cries because it is so beautiful. The problem is that he can't sing in front of anyone - let alone an audience. This book includes references to current times such as Beyonce and smart phones. Yes, this book was published just a few months ago. This is a humorous book believe it not and try not to dwell on a few words that many consider inappropriate.
This book is very substantial because it includes topics of weight discrimination, bullying, hiding talents, coping, keeping and hiding secrets and more. You will find much to reflect on in this book:
"It's a bit like my life has its own soundtrack. It's a pretty boring movie, with overdramatic music".
"Conversations like that are a bit like skating. Suddenly you veer off to the side and fall flat on your face.
"Whatever, I do like to let my thoughts go wandering before the day takes over".
"You regret telling something you didn't want anyone to know". 

This child goes through a lot and never, ever loses control or complains. Is that typical Norwegian or is Bart just a wonderful guy?


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