Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am” as Want to Read:
The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  1,706 Ratings  ·  206 Reviews
Mathea Martinsen has never been good at dealing with other people. After a lifetime, her only real accomplishment is her longevity: everyone she reads about in the obituaries has died younger than she is now. Afraid that her life will be over before anyone knows that she lived, Mathea digs out her old wedding dress, bakes some sweet cakes, and heads out into the world—to m ...more
ebook, 147 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
s.penkevich
Oct 24, 2012 s.penkevich rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to s.penkevich by: I love the Norwegian writers
Shelves: death, dalkey, norway
Nothing is like being breathed on by a life
-Knut Hamsun

In youth, we foolishly chase away the days looking towards the future. Once we get there, we realize the limited number of days remaining and look backwards, hoping we left enough of a mark on our race to the end so we can be remembered. Kjersti A. Skomsvold’s heart-warming The Faster I Walk The Smaller I Am, winner of the Tarjei Vesaas First Book Prize in 2009, tells the story of Mathea Martinsen, an elderly woman whose crippling social a
...more
David
Aug 28, 2012 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of those weird impulse buys that I can't entirely rationalize—because the cover design alone should have been like an application of Maximum Strength David-Be-Gone® spray. I mean, look at how confoundingly twee that is! I get a toothache from all that latent whimsy. But on the flipside of the pros and cons chart, it is published by Dalkey and—according to the description at least—it's about growing old and coming to terms with mortality and all of that fun stuff.

I should have trust
...more
Deniz Balcı
Dün gece uykum gelsin diye biraz kitap okumak istedim ve elime 'Hızlandıkça Azalıyorum'u aldım. Ancak uykumu getireceğine açtı ve yarısını okudum. Şimdi de diğer yarısını bitirdim. Ne diyeceğimi açıkçası tam olarak kestiremiyorum. Farklı bir kitap bu. Tam İskandinav ülkelerinden çıkması beklenebilecek bir karamsarlığa sahip. Yaşlılıkla gelen varoluşsal sorgulamaları çok güzel işlemiş. Bir yandan da Avrupa'nın yalnızlaşan insanlarına iyi bir örnek olmuş. Yer yer okurken Haneke'nin 'Amour' filmi g ...more
Jonfaith
Aug 04, 2012 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
During the early 1990s I looked forward to Saturday nights. I worked two full time jobs to pay off debts and found myself working six days a week. At my local pub, I assembled a writing group and for several months, it was the focal point of my week, hell, my existence. Blame it on youth but I would alternate between Guinness and espresso throughout the night, argue until I was hoarse and then go home in the wicked light of morning, clothes reeking of smoke. Most of the group's efforts I have ch ...more
Jen Campbell
Aug 10, 2015 Jen Campbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 :) will chat about it in my next wrap up www.youtube.com/jenvcampbell
Konserve Ruhlar
Dec 26, 2016 Konserve Ruhlar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Çok yakın zamanda Bay Blanc'ı okumuş, A Man Called Ove'u izlemiştim. Üzerine de Hızlandıkça Azalıyorum'u okumak, müthiş bir kuzey Avrupa atmosferi kurguladı beynimde. Kahramanın yalnızlığını, yaşlılığını, düşünce ve eylemlerini, hatta eylemsizliğini anlamak yazarın kullandığı o sade ve akıcı dil ile oldukça mümkün zaten. Üstelik bu kadar sıkıcı ve ilgi çekmeyen ağır bir konu üzerine roman kurgulayarak büyük bir risk almış. İlk roman olmasına rağmen çok da güzel üstesinden gelmiş. Ara sıra nerden ...more
Hakan T
May 07, 2016 Hakan T rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Beklediğimi bulamadığım bir kitap oldu. Ölümün eşiğinde, sosyalleşemeyen, özgüveni neredeyse sıfır olan, muhtemelen psikolojik dengesi de tam yerinde olmayan bir kadının içini dökmelerinden oluşuyor. Belki yoğun bir dönemime geldiğinden, kısa olmasına rağmen parça parça okuyabildiğim için tam olarak içine giremedim. Eşinin hayali mi gerçek mi olduğunu, gerçekse onu da kaybedip kaybetmediğini anlayamadım. Belki de bu benim eksikliğim. Özetle sevemedim.
Mustafa Şahin
Ben bu kitabı aslında sadece ismini ve kapağını beğendiğim için almıştım. İçeriğine dair bir bilgim yoktu. Ağırmış. Yalnız ve yaşlı Mathea'nın kafasından geçenlerle ruhumuzu sıkıştırıyoruz kitap boyunca. Belki de kendimizi kandırıyoruzdur, kim bilir.
M.
Nov 05, 2014 M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kesinlikle okunması gereken; kendine özgü bir kitap.
Sosyal olarak toplumun bir parçası olamamış; bir şekilde, sanki oynayan bir diş, kopuk bir uzuv gibi yaşayan bir kadının iç dünyasında yaşıyoruz.
Cem Binbir
Nov 01, 2014 Cem Binbir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
10 üzerinden olsaydı 7 verebilirdim, ama kitabın ismini ve çok beğendiğim kapak tasarımını kitaba 4 yıldız vermekte kanaat notu olarak kullandım.

Ölüme hızla yaklaştığını hisseden, ama zihninin parlaklığı ve davranışlarıyla bunu hiç göstermeyen Mathea'nın zihninde dolaşıyoruz. Kitap boyunca Mathea'nın yaşını tahmin etmekte zorlandım. Bazı hareketleri yaşlı birinin yapabileceği hareketler değildi, o yüzden karakteri mantıklı bir zemine oturtamadım ve bazı kısımları öyle kabul edip geçtim. Yazara y
...more
Jessica Darling
This book kind of just broke me. I wasn't expecting to get so much from this little story. It's devastatingly beautiful. I don't think I have many words beyond that right now. But I could read this again and again. I'll treasure this book.
Aviendha
Dec 30, 2016 Aviendha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Bulutsuz bir gündü, okul bahçesinde bir köşede yalnız başıma durmuş, oradaki taşları saymakla uğraşıyormuş gibi görünmeye çalışıyordum. İnsanın bir şeyle uğraştığı için yalnız olmadığını düşünmek tümüyle kendini kandırmak, ama en önemlisi hiç kimsenin senin yalnız olduğunu düşünmemesi."
Chad Post
I think this line helps open up the problems I have with this book: "I feel the need to scratch my bites until they bleed. That rhymes."

Sure, technically, "need" and "bleed" do rhyme, but man, that sense really has no cadence, no rhythm. It's all technically correct, yet it's like hearing a Muzak version of your favorite song: all the notes are in the right places, but the timbre is fucked.

Skomsvold is all of 32 years old, so writing a book about an elderly, lonely woman is definitely not *writ
...more
Tuck
Aug 03, 2012 Tuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dalkey-archive, noir
very funny narrative of an old, i mean OLD, lady who is isolated (by choice, but with the realization that death is coming and damn, nobody is going to remember her and tell funny stories and fondly recall her, but instead gonna die and rot in the cold cold ground, unremembered and really?, who gives two shits for some old lady?) but realizes she needs to get out and about and make some sort of impact on those around her so to be ALIVE (but let's be honest here, hardly anybody, except maybe plut ...more
Jim Elkins
Oct 09, 2012 Jim Elkins rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norwegian
How to Express Paralysis

I bought this because of Stig Saeterbakken's recommendation; he calls it a "gloomy feel-good novel." I would normally never buy a book advertised as "feel-good," but Saeterbakken knows "gloomy" better than any other novelist. The book is a mixed achievement.

On the positive side: the character, a quirky, probably autistic, uncommunicative, scattered, self-involved old woman, is memorable.

On the negative side: the book relies on brief images, anecdotes, page-long stories, a
...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review posted on Layers of Thought.

A “literary tragicomic” that is translated from Norwegian. It’s a short but challenging read which is at times brilliant, heart-wrenching, sadly funny, and with some interesting bits which require mathematical knowledge to fully understand their references.

About: It is told in the first person by an aging woman Mathea Martinsen. She is a cerebral individual, currently obsessed with death, and perhaps possessing a social anxiety disorder. She stays in h
...more
Elli (The Bibliophile)
This book was both funny and sad at times. I enjoyed it but I don't have very much to say about it!
Allison
Dec 28, 2011 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lyrical, emotional prose without being too wordy or sentimental. Mathea is one of the most unique characters I've ever met in fiction. The way her world is presented to the reader is innovative yet simple. Sentences alternately made me feel sad for what she lost or never had, feel happy because she was delighted by so little, or laugh because she had such a wonderful way or viewing the world. It might take a few pages to feel surrounded by her world, but it is definitely worth a read.
Sanja
Jun 05, 2016 Sanja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Divna knjiga, tako me raznežila na trenutke. Glavna junakinja ima osećaj da je nevidljiva, pati od socijalne fobije. Emotivno hladna, ćutljiva i depresivna, Matea tokom celog života koristi ponašajne obrasce usvojene u ranom detinjstvu. Realna životna priča usamljenice.
Aileen
Dec 16, 2011 Aileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am
By Kjersti A. Skomsvold
Translated by Kerri A. Pierce
Published by Dalkey Archive Press

By Aileen Donegan

“Hamsun said that nothing is like being breathed on by a life, and I wish someone would ring my doorbell, even if they just ran away.”

Norwegian novelist Kjersti A. Skomsvold’s award winning debut centers on Mathea Martinsen, an old woman dealing with the inevitability of death. Spoken in first person narrative, she examines her life in full and decides that sh
...more
Tara
Mar 25, 2014 Tara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really don't know about this book. I can't decide whether my lack of enjoyment comes from a well written book with an uncomfortable subject matter, or from just a badly written book period. I've noticed it's rather difficult to critique a book that has a weird feel about it, because it can always be argued that this was intentional and the fact that you didn't like it meant that the author succeeded blah blah.

I think I've settled on it being a combination of both. The book is slightly uncomfo
...more
Frank Hestvik
The good: the language is great. It's humorous and playful. That's why I liked it.

The actual story and subject-matter though... It's about an elderly lady who lives with her husband in an apartment block. She is lonely and constantly afraid of death. Apart from her husband, hardly anyone knows she exists, and no one cares. She wants friends, but she hides from everyone; she feels oppressed by her fear of death, but she continues to read the obituaries. She's neurotic to an extreme degree, but it
...more
Ryan Smith
Oct 06, 2011 Ryan Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dalkey Archive has another stunner in this debut novel by Kjersti A. Skomsvold.

Our lonely, elderly narrator has measured her life, if she has truly marked off the passage of time at all, in knit earwarmers and an insistent though compelling lifelong conjuration from her husband of one statistic after another. As she sits overlooking the edge of her own mortality she gazes back into the spare vacuum of her life to see what filled all those spaces kept barren of friends, family, pursuits, and so
...more
Kübra Yağmur
Öncelerini ölüm ilanlarını yalnızca benden daha kısa yaşayanlara nispet yapmak için okurdum, ama şimdi bunun bir anlamı olmadığını düşünüyorum, çünkü hepimiz bir an yaşıyoruz ne de olsa.

İnsanlar yalnız doğmaz, kendilerini yalnızlaştırırlar. Bu kitapta da kendini yalnızlığa mahkum etmiş Mathea Martinsen'in kasvetli yaşlılığını okuyoruz ama ne okumak. İçim karardı dostlar, içim şişti.
Ölmüş olduğunu düşündüğüm kocasının anılarıyla yaşayan, kendini toplumdan soyutlamış bu kadın başıma giren ağrı
...more
Willem
Mar 12, 2015 Willem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norsk
i am currently translating it into dutch for zirimiri press. to be published october 2015
Natalie (weneedhunny)
I was surprised by how much I liked this. As far as fiction goes, this might very well be my favourite of the year thus far. I think part of the charm is the relatability I found in both the main character and the way of approaching life generally (I think there are quite a few details that felt to me very Scandinavian, which I enjoyed). I find it slightly ironical that I (23-year old) relate to a 70-something year old woman, but there you go. The story is not a grand one, it's a very down to ea ...more
Rudi
Jan 29, 2017 Rudi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gir denne to stjerner ("It was ok"), fordi den aldri helt traff meg. Jeg kan huske å høre folk si at de ikke liker Erlend Loe sine bøker, fordi de ikke tror på hovedpersonene. Dette er vanskelig å forstå for meg, som relaterer veldig til dem. Men jeg føler det slik med denne boka, som betyr at det sikkert er mange andre som klarer å relatere mye mer til denne. Jeg klarte aldri å se hovedpersonen som en faktisk karakter med et levd liv, men heller bare som en hovedperson i en hel rekke morsomme(! ...more
Ronald Morton
Today isn’t going to get any better. You’ve had a really bad day, Mathea, so aren’t you grateful you don’t have many days left, I tell myself - you were patient in life, now rest from strife - but then I think of the sound of the humming dial tone, why do I have to be so optimistic by nature, why can’t I just lay myself down and die?
I found this book to be a quick pleasant read, with some small amount of teeth there at the end. Mathea is an engaging and funny narrator, and her relationship with
...more
Karen Mace
Jan 05, 2016 Karen Mace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperbacks
Ever have that feeling that you're invisible? That nobody notices you. Well, this is how Mathea Martinson feels as she is an elderly lady who has always struggled to interact with people. And in this book we get to see how this affects her in her later life, and as she tries to change things but with very little positive effect.

This is a really quirky little book that definitely keeps you thinking and have enormous sympathy for the main character as she tries to be noticed or find ways for other
...more
Adrienne Urbanski
This book centers around a lonely, isolated old woman trying to live on her own after her husband dies. Essentially, her entire life has been devoid of friends, a career, or pursuits aside from her husband who has known her since childhood. Skomsvold writes in a poetic, fable like style and frames the mundane events of the protagonist's life as pivotal. Such occurrences as trips to the grocery store and being asked what time it is become the big events of her life, as she has no other social int ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Through the Night
  • Melancholy
  • The Truth About Marie
  • Days in the History of Silence
  • imot kunsten
  • Bli hvis du kan. Reis hvis du må.
  • Innsirkling
  • With the Animals
  • On Elegance While Sleeping
  • Replacement (Norwegian Literature Series)
  • The Conqueror
  • From the Mouth of the Whale
  • Kompani Orheim (Jarle Klepp #2)
  • Grace
  • Parissyndromet
  • The Jade Cabinet
  • Thank You for Not Reading
  • Svøm med dem som drukner
7376363
Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold made her literary debut in 2009 with the novel 'The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am'. The book was nominated for the Norwegian Booksellers' Prize, the P2-listeners' Novel Prize and won the Tarjei Vesaas' Debutant Prize (judged by The Literary Council of The Norwegian Authors Union). It was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2013. Skomsvold h ...more
More about Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold...

Share This Book



“I've knitted myself a hat, it's plum red with an appealing lace pattern, I figured that a few air holes would be nice now that it's spring. I put it on and feel like a cranberry in the snow, and I wonder if they can see me from the moon. Me and the Great Wall.” 7 likes
“The breeze is cold and refreshing, I draw the night into my lungs and try to calm myself down.” 3 likes
More quotes…