Manny's Reviews > Lasso rundt fru Luna

Lasso rundt fru Luna by Agnar Mykle
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Jun 06, 15

bookshelves: too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, swedish-norwegian-and-danish
Recommended for: Anyone who's read "Min Kamp" or "The Seducer"
Read from May 10 to 22, 2015

From Jan Kjærstad's Forføreren (my translation):
"Okay, listen up guys, who wrote this: 'Her body was moving in great surging billows under him. For one fearful moment they listened to each other's gasping breathing and she whispered in his ear: 'Yes.' The darkness in front of his eyes was lit by myriads of tiny twinkling, singing stars. In cruel rapture mingled with pain and fear he let it happen.'"

"Nabokov," suggested Thomas. "Miller," said Trine. "It's got to be an Englishman," said Alva. "D.H. Lawrence." Axel smiled and shook his head as wilder and wilder suggestions rained down on him from all sides.

"Agnar Mykle," he said. If he had been wearing a hat, he would have raised it: Axel had only one literary hero in Norway, Agnar Mykle. "From a translation of Lasso rundt fru Luna. A scandalously bad one, I should add. The stupid fuckers have cut at least ten sentences just in this little passage. It's a joke."
I give in: I just have to check out Mykle's controversial masterpiece.

Update: having finally obtained a copy (thank you Stian!) I have now read the passage in question in the original Norwegian. It turns out that Axel wasn't exaggerating at all.

More when I've finished...

Mid 20th Century Norwegian Literature. 90 minutes

1. When Agnar Mykle was 20, he worked for a year at two business schools in the extreme North of Norway, becoming the youngest headmaster in the country. During this time, he was romantically involved with two different women, both of whom became pregnant.

Mykle's novel Lasso Rundt Fru Luna, in contrast, is about a 20 year old man, "Ask Burlefot", who works for a year at two business schools in the extreme North of Norway, becoming the youngest headmaster in the country, and is romantically involved with two different women, both of whom become pregnant.

How would you assess the author's claim in the Foreword that "the characters in this book are entirely fictitious, and it is in no way based on real events"?

2. The greater part of the action takes place in the town of "Indrepollen", often identified with the real Kirknes.

Which answer best fits the geographical location of Kirknes?

A. Middle of nowhere.

B. Back of beyond.

C. When you get to the back of beyond, keep going until you see the sign for Ultima Thule. Then take the next right and you can't miss it.

D. Like C, but a bit more so.

3. Which of the following novels do you consider is most similar to Lasso Rundt Fru Luna? To what extent do you think each one was influenced by it? Justify your answer.

A. Jan Kjærstad, Forføreren.

B. Karl Ove Knausgård, Min Kamp.

C. John Updike, Rabbit, Run.

D. Erica Jong, Fear of Flying.

4. Which of the following authors would you say is most misogynistic? Justify your answer.

A. Guy de Maupassant

B. August Strindberg

C. Agnar Mykle

D. Bret Easton Ellis

E. None of them are misogynistic, they should all be read ironically.

5. The imagery in Lasso Rundt Fru Luna is largely based on...?

A. Classical sagas of the Norse gods.

B. Business administration workbooks.

C. Both A and B.

D. This is a trick question, right?

6. Match the characters from the book with the descriptions below.

i) "Gunnhild"

ii) "Siv"

iii) Ask's mother

A. Neurotic, shallow, manipulative, overweight, self-obsessed non-stop talker who dresses like a cheap hooker and is unable to see the hero as anything more than a projection of her worthless self.

B. Neurotic, shallow, manipulative, grasping, dishonest blackmailer, con artist and part-time prostitute.

C. Tiny, radiantly beautiful, angelic blonde creature whose only wishes are to have sex with the hero at every hour of the day or night, bear his child, and cherish each moment she is fortunate enough to spend in his company.

7. The book became notorious for its explicit sex scenes. In the most memorable of these, Ask, who has never previously slept with anyone, is about to bed an experienced older woman and is terrified that he will disappoint her. He prays for guidance to the god Frej's steed Gyldenborste, after which he is able to bring her to a screaming orgasm twice, using a couple of acrobatic positions she has never previously tried, before regally taking his own pleasure.

How would you describe the above episode?

A. You can't have read that right. Are you sure your Norwegian is as good as you think it is?

B. Uh, I guess it must be ironic or something? Excuse me if I repeat myself.

C. Just because you're so pathetically inadequate, you needn't assume everyone else is too.

D. Didn't you know? This often happens when you address heartfelt prayers to magic sexy flying pigs.

(My answers here)
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Reading Progress

05/10 marked as: currently-reading
05/10 page 25
3.0% "I finally have a copy of this hard-to-obtain book. THANK YOU AGAIN STIAN!!" 4 comments
05/10 page 55
8.0% "Derfor var han i tur og orden innom alle de fashionable politiske og religiøse klubber som eksisterte. I første gym var det Fedrelandslaget, en halv-nazist selskapsklubb, der lærte han å danse, og å snakke med brennende stemme om "die Verniggerung Europas"."
05/13 page 115
18.0% "The first girl he goes out with make him feel worthless when she won't let him put his hand down her knickers, the second girl he goes out with makes him feel worthless when he doesn't know how much to tip the waiter, and the third girl he goes out with makes him feel worthless when he discovers she comes from a wealthy family.

Hm. Is there a pattern developing here? I don't see it yet."
05/14 page 150
24.0% "Flash update: if your mom is a manipulative, airheaded, overweight non-stop talker who dresses like a cheap hooker and whose mere presence makes you feel physically sick, then this is the book for you! Though I suppose it's always possible that we'll be shown another side of her later."
05/16 page 190
30.0% "Alf Grande hade fortalt ham, at når du lærer å blåse horn, må du legge lepperne inn til munnstykket og spille med tungen, akkurat som en slange. Du må holde lepperne stille og prøve å si fukketetu."
05/16 page 215
34.0% "Min kone er seksogseksti, jeg er treogseksti. Helt til hun var toogfemti kunne hun føde barn. Nu kan hun ikke dét lenger. Men alt det andre kan hun fortsatt. Hun ikke bara kan det, hun insisterer på det. Jeg kan se i Deres ansikt, at der var ting om kvinner på seksogseksti år som unge menn ikke visste."
05/17 page 245
39.0% "I've never seen a book which has such problems deciding whether it's a serious novel or a piece of pornographic trash. It sometimes appears to change its mind halfway through a sentence... easy to understand why it's become a cult classic!"
05/17 page 270
43.0% "Some useful lifestyle tips:

1. Don't bet half your monthly salary on a poker hand if one of your opponents is a professional gambler and you're uncertain whether a full house beats a straight.

2. When you're trying to keep an affair secret, don't have sex with your girlfriend standing up on her front porch, even at 4 am on a cold night." 4 comments
05/17 page 330
53.0% "I'm still baffled by the many people who compare this book with Crime and Punishment. Halfway through, he doesn't seem to have done anything worse than get involved with someone he probably shouldn't have and unsuccessfully help an old lady cheat on an exam. But there are dark hints that he ought to be writing home more often. I suppose it will all become clear in the end."
05/18 page 385
62.0% "Han så henne trekke silkestrømpene opp over lårene, han så henne lage en liten rull på dem øverst før hun festet dem til strømpeholderen, han så henne stå et sekund og leke med fingrene innpå lårets myke hud, han visste at hun visste at i gamle dager ville han ikke stått for dette synet, men intet hendte, og langsamt lot hon underkjolen falle ned, som når man efter en manøver dekker til en kanon med en presenning."
05/19 page 420
68.0% "Wow. It took nearly thirty pages before the very sight of this new woman started to make him feel sick. New record!"
05/19 page 440
71.0% "Incredible as it may sound, people were already having oral sex in 1930s Norway. Though the hero was also unaware of this interesting fact."
05/20 page 480
78.0% "

After some googling, I've discovered that "Indrepollen" and "Ytrepollen", where most of the book takes place, are really Kirkenes and Vardø. If you don't immediately recognize this godforsaken corner of the globe, consult a larger map. Good grief."
05/21 page 515
83.0% "En vekselrytter er en person som sprenger veksler under seg. Men han kommer aldri frem. Han kommer aldri så langt at han får infridd det siste avdrag på sin gjeld. Han får nok vekslen fornyet for noen månader ad gangen, men hver gang betaler han den forfalne veksel ved at skrive under på en ny. Slik kan han holde hodet over vannet en viss tid, et år, to år, fem år, inntil det ikke går lenger. Da synker han."
05/22 page 560
91.0% "This highly autobiographical novel is a good example of why you sometimes have to know something about the author's life in order to evaluate a book. If he really saved a woman and her young child from drowning and got a reward of 300 kronor just when he needed it, how could he leave that out? Otherwise, it's the crappiest piece of melodramatic sentimentality I've ever seen."
05/22 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Klappenskoff dumma jävlar

Manny Ian wrote: "dumma jävlar"

Vad du är mångspråkig!

message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Klappenskoff No, just cunning, though I used to speak and read German fluently. And a bit of French.

message 4: by nicole (new)

nicole google translate is great! :)

message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian Klappenskoff Now I've been well and truly sprung! Well, Vorsprung Durch Technik.

message 6: by Warwick (new)

Warwick Can I request more paper? Having called on Gyldenborste for guidance myself a couple of times, I have plenty to say on the final question…

Manny Warwick wrote: "Can I request more paper? Having called on Gyldenborste for guidance myself a couple of times, I have plenty to say on the final question…"

You're welcome to all the paper you can use! I suggest that you then write up your conversations with Gyldenborste at greater length and publish them as a novel. You'll most likely get sued and your book will be impounded, after which you'll appeal, take it to the Supreme Court and get the ruling overturned. Your book will then be re-released and translated into 19 languages, becoming an international bestseller which will grant you a minor immortality.

Well, that's what happened last time, anyway. But I can't guarantee anything.

Manny I am disappointed that no one has yet sent in their answers to the test. (Warwick is exempted, since it sounds like he's still writing). If people care to do so, I'll post a summary in a week or two. Full anonymity assured.

message 9: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Russell 'Her body was moving in great surging billows under him. For one fearful moment they listened to each other's gasping breathing and she whispered in his ear: 'Yes.' The darkness in front of his eyes was lit by myriads of tiny twinkling, singing stars. In cruel rapture mingled with pain and fear he let it happen.'" --------- from The Black Cross by Olive M. Briggs?

message 10: by Manny (last edited May 23, 2015 05:36AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Manny Glenn, I do not recall Ms Briggs's name being suggested in the passage from Kjærstad, but maybe this just shows how impoverished my reading list has been. Or Kjærstad's, for that matter. Someone should tell him that he's not fooling anyone with that Renaissance Man pose.

With your interest in Knausgård, you may well want to check out this book! There were many points where I thought, wow, this is almost like a first draft of Min kamp, or perhaps something that directly inspired him to write it. But everything is weirdly reversed...

message 11: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt Why no stars?

Manny Matt wrote: "Why no stars?"

I had added stars, but somehow they disappeared! I've restored them.

message 13: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt Thanks. I just ordered a used hardcover for 0,25€ + shipping. Cannot go wrong with that. BTW I ordered all my Bjoerneboe books via this site as well:

Manny Curious to know if the German editions have been emasculated in the same way as the English ones!

message 15: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt I hope not! How will I find out?

message 16: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt Started it now and encountered a strange word:
Orchestergrab [Part two of the book, first chapter "Overture", second paragraph, last sentence]. The usual word Orchestergraben means the orchestra pit in the theater. Without the letters "en" it becomes a "Grab" (=grave). I wonder if this is on purpose or the result of a sloppy editor.

Manny Ha, so you have also started on Mykle :)

I don't remember this passage in enough detail... will have to check when I get home. But indirectly referring to a grave and associating it with music would be very logical in the context...

message 18: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt Yes! Can't say I'm Myklefied yet with so few pages in, but I like the "fakkete fakkete fakkete..." sound of the train. I also found the foreword interesting in which he claims (almost desperately) to not take anything or any person in this book for real. Those Norwegians, cracking jokes wherever they can :)

message 19: by Manny (last edited Jul 20, 2015 08:00AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Manny Having now got more than a third of the way through the biography, I should say that not everything in the novels appears to be true. But a great deal is, and often it seems to be a question of things being rearranged and transposed rather than invented.

I am almost up to the point where he writes Lasso, so I may know more soon.

message 20: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt Re: Kirkenes / question 2:

- The German name used in the novel is Innenpollen.

- I find it interesting that Kirkenes is located East of Finland, which means you have to turn your clock forward if you go West from K. to Finland, instead of backward. I wonder how many similar cities are there in the world.

- There's a typo (a missing e) twice in the review.

- I want to go there one time.

message 21: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt Manny wrote: "Curious to know if the German editions have been emasculated in the same way as the English ones!"

Apparently not.
(view spoiler)

message 22: by Manny (last edited Jul 25, 2015 06:18AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Manny That sounds more like it. I'm pleased to hear that Germans have greater respect for literature than Americans.

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