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Linn Ullmann Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Before You Sleep (1998)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Stella Descending (2000)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Grace (2002)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Blessed Child (2005)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Cold Song (2011)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Unquiet (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Linn Ulmann is an award-winning journalist and author from Oslo, Norway best known for her literary fiction works. The daughter of Swedish screenwriter and director Ingmar Bergman and director, author and actress Liv Ullman, she is the author of several critically acclaimed novels that include “The Cold Song” published in 2011, “Stella Descending” in 2001 and her debut “Before You Sleep” published in 1998 among others. Her novels have been published across the United States and Europe and been translated into more than 30 languages across the globe. His novel “The Cold Song” was also listed on Kirkus Reviews best fiction works of 2011, and made the list for 2014’s James Wood’s six favorite novels of the year in the New Yorker. It also made the list for the 50 best independent poetry and fiction works of the year. The award-winning journalist is also the former Artistic Director and co-founder of the International Artist Residency Foundation. She currently makes her home in Oslo, Norway.

As a young adult, Linn Ullman went to the United States and studied English Literature at New York University, which is possibly the reason she speaks flawless English. In a recent interview, she asserted that she plays a critical role in the translation of her novels from her native Norwegian into English. After attaining her Ph.D., she went back home to Oslo in 1990 and began working as a literary critic and journalist. She is still a columnist for one of the biggest newspapers in Norway. While she is the daughter of Liv Ullman and Ingmar Bergman who are known for their extraordinary feats in the film, directorship, and writing, Linn has so far managed to make a name for herself. She does not dance to the tunes of her illustrious parents, instead deciding to chart her own path as a creative. Given that her parents were often moving around and working on location, she spent much of her early childhood and early teens with her maternal grandmother. Lucky for her, the grandmother was a bookseller and given how many books she had access to, the aspiring author was soon a voracious reader. She would read her folk and fairy tales from the likes of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, which she still loves to this day. Nonetheless, while she wanted to pursue a career in the arts and even studied at Julliard to become a dancer, her passion for writing grew stronger when she went to college.

Even though Lin Ullman plays to the beat of her own drama it would have been impossible not to have been influenced by her towering parents, even if it was just the professionalism. Her father was a punctual and disciplined man who said that these are elements critical for one’s creativity. He usually made time for everything including solitude, talk, rest, and work, and as such, Ullman says that she always hears his voice in her head when she tries to make excuses not to work. Her mother also had a strong sense of professionalism though she was rawer and wilder than her father. She was very vulnerable but also very brave. Linn was only three years old when her parents split up though they remained friends and worked together on many movies. As such, she learned the values of collaboration from the friendship of her parents. Nonetheless, while she is an author and is often alone, reading and writing is some type of conversation or collaboration.

Linn Ullman’s “Before You Sleep” is a keenly detailed, beautifully rendered, and candid novels of infidelity, motherhood, love, and marriage. The story spans three generations of a family from Norway as it expends style, wisdom, acuity, and the excitement of a stunning literary work. The novel starts in modern-day Oslo and goes right back to Brooklyn during the 1930s as the author tells her narrative through the eccentric voices of the formidable women, whose prejudices and passions create a complex web that bind child to mother and mother to grandchild. It is a critically celebrated novel that reviewers have described as a disquieting, entertaining, melancholic, and playful work that explores the emotional aspects of motherhood and marriage. Karin the complicated but young narrator says that these emotional strains are an endless stream of broken promises. Karin writes in a candid, entertaining, and cynical perspective throughout the novel and introduces Julie her sister, who is also a mother and wife that is nearly broken by the infidelity of her husband. She also has to deal with Anni their mother that is an irresistible seductress, and her aunt Selma who depends on drinking to stay mean.

“Stella Descending” by Linn Ullmann is a bizarre and peculiar but compelling read that opens to the death of Stella Vold. She had fallen nine floors to her death with witnesses asserting that she was shoved/embraced by her husband while they were engaged in a weird rooftop dance. It is not clear if she was pushed, fell, or jumped off the rooftop. Stella had been with Martin her husband for more than ten years and together they have a quiet and introspective child named Bee that had never bonded with her father. Stella had another child from another relationship – a fifteen-year-old named Amanda. Amanda takes care of Bee and also shares her perspectives on what happened on the tragic day. She tells her story as seen through her growing up from early childhood into an adolescent, and even as she comes of age in a confusing environment where fantasy is a day to day norm and reality is cryptic.

Linn Ullman’s “Grace” is a morally complex but witty novel that explores the divide between life and death in an unexpectedly dramatic and touching manner. The lead is Johan, a man who has had good luck but has never taken advantage of it to create success in his life. He had been involved in some unprofessional conduct that had made him lose a lucrative job. Poor communication had also led to an eight-year-long estrangement with his son. He finds his happiness in his confident and competent wife Mai, who loves him wholeheartedly. He has been informed that he will be dead in six months but with the love of his wife, he is content and intends to die with dignity. But he cannot help brood over the regrets and pleasures of his life as death comes closer, which makes his resolution to die gracefully waver. With an unadorned and raw focus, it is a wise and touching story that has something of an Ingmar Bergman movie.

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