Celebrated throughout the world for her candor and sensitivity to the rhythms of language, Hanne Ørstavik is a leading light on the international stage. Ørstavik writes with “a compulsion for truth that feels like [her] very life force itself.” Laced with a tingling frankness, Ørstavik’s prose adheres so closely to the inner workings of its narrator’s mind as to nearly undo itself. In Martin Aitken’s translation, Ørstavik’s piercing story sings.
Ti Amo brings a new, deeply personal approach, as the novel is based in Ørstavik’s own experience of losing her Italian husband to cancer. By facing loss directly, she includes readers in an experience that many face in isolation. Written and set in the early months of 2020, its themes of loss and suffering are particularly well suited for a time of international mourning.
What can be found within a gaze? What lies inside a painting or behind a handful of repeated words? These are the questions that haunt our unnamed narrator as she tends to her husband, stricken with cancer, in the final months of his life.
She examines the elements of their life together: their Vietnamese rose-colored folding table where they eat their meals, each of the New Year’s Eves they’ve shared, their friendships, and their most intimate exchanges.
With everything in flux, she searches for the facets that will remain.