A man and a woman in an isolated house, surrounded by thing, or nearly thing; besieged by urban desert or actual wilderness, by alcohol, cigarettes, and ghosts; by mothers, fathers, and lovers who have disappeared...Written in a seemingly unadorned style, with flashes of pitch-black humor, Askildsen's devastating stories convey in few words a portrait of life and thought as they are actually experienced, balanced between despair and hope, memories and expectations. He is recognized as one of the greatest Norwegian writers of the twentieth century, and among the greatest short-story authors of all time.
Kjell Askildsen was born in 1929 in Mandal, southern Norway. At the age of twenty-four, he published his first collection of short stories. In the '60s and '70s, Askildsen's output was restricted to short novels, but he turned his back on the form for good after his 1983 novella Thomas F's Last Notes to the General Public, available in English in the collection A Sudden Liberating Thought. In 1991, Askildsen was nominated to the Nordic Council's Prize for Literature. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages. He lives and works in Norway.