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Over det kinesiske hav

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  235 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Like før krigen får et ektepar reist sitt eget forpleiningshjem for «åndssvake» i den vesle bygda helt sør i Norge. Snart fylles rommene med pasienter; den religiøse grubleren Christian Jensen, den tause, alltid ruggende Matiassen, og Onkel Josef, som er blant de mest beleste i bygda. En søskenflokk på fem barn flytter inn i «galehuset» som det blir kalt. Josef kaller dem ...more
Hardcover, 1st edition, 247 pages
Published 2013 by Tiden
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  235 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deeply moving novel, one in which memories swim in and out of the narrator's consciousness in such a way that the reader feels content just to float on that slow current of time. The plot is simple, an unnamed man recalls a constellation of lives which might be called a family, except that his is a unique family: mother, father, sisters and seven mentally disabled wards (two adult men and five siblings ranging in age from toddler to teenager). His recollections are like dots on a pointillist t ...more
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quietly moving story about a Norwegian family who takes in mentally disabled people and treats them with loving kindness.
3.5 stars. I really loved the setting of this novel and the family it focused on. I wish there had been more narrative about the term "mentally disabled" and that the timeline had been a bit stronger. Still, a strong translation.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deeply absorbing story of the quiet, meaningful, lives of a family in Norway.
Wonderfully insightful portrait of an unconventional family in Southern Norway headed by a couple filled with unbounded compassion.
A must read in these times.
Rebecca Kightlinger
Across the China Sea
Gaute Heivoll, Greywolf Press, 2017, $16.00, pb, 232 pp, 9781555977849
(Trans. Nadia Christensen)

“This is what the new world was like: Our own asylum, in the midst of a forest, in the midst of the parish, forty kilometers from the coast.”

Norway, 1945.

“Is this the end of the world?”
Stepping off the bus and standing at the edge of the road in the rural parish where she is about to begin a new life with her husband, her son (the story’s narrator), and the daughter she is carryi
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Beautifully written and at times heartbreaking, an account of a man's life from childhood living in a house of twelve in WWII era Norway. The narrator relives the everyday experiences of sharing a home with his parents and sister, along with 5 children and 3 adults, each with varying degrees of mental illness. Each scene is carefully described in honest detail and made this an enjoyable read.
Dec 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Fantastisk skrevet, men handler liksom om ingenting...
Laurel Deloria
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title is obscure, but it is from the crate used as a cradle for he and his sisters, which was used to bring oranges to the Orient. The book is dark, like you might expect from the authors heritage, and the setting of the book. It is written by the son of a couple who built a house to be used to care for
those who have mental issues arising from accident or birth.

An atmospheric and affecting novel set in rural Norway, by the award-winning author of Before I Burn.

In the waning days of t
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this very touching story of a Norwegian family--the mother and father trained in the 1930s as medical workers in institutions for the intellectually disabled. At the very start of World War II, they realize their dream of building a house on their inherited land in a rural area to accommodate several patients. Josef is the 50 year old uncle of Mama. Injured in a fall when young, he will be the highest functioning person in their care. The narrator, their own son, tells how he and his littl ...more
Rhonda Siserir
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very moving book about a man who is going through his family's things after his mother dies. We learn that the family cared for people who were mentally disabled. The love and care the family provided for those they care for was tremendous and at times at the expense of the family. However, they grew tight close bonds.

I just finished reading the book. I fell in love with this family :) A good read!

I received this book for free from Goodreads.
Geraldine Presley
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a story about a female and male nurse who are married and have children. They live in Norway and build a big house to be able to have three adult men with mental difficulties and five mentally handicapped children live with them and look after them until they are adults.
It is the son telling the story.
I found it interesting, enjoyable, and sad. It was translated from Norwegian into English by Nadia Christensen.
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely, peaceful little book that tells the story of a couple and their children who were caregivers in rural Norway. It is told in vignettes of memory interspersed with present day as the son of the family cleans out the house after his mother's deal. There is sadness and tragedy but the stories are told in a straightforward, non-emotional way. Even without emotion or sentimentality it is a powerful book.
Bigi Parsons
Gaute Heivoll's novel of his family and the children his parents sheltered is so plainly written it is stark with few sparks of joy. One gets the sense that the author is so badly scarred by his early childhood at the end of the Soviet invasion of Norway and the death of a sister that he is unable to find joy in his adult life. His family life living with mentally disabled foster children was by any stretch of the imagination unusual and poignant.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-2018, audio-book
This is such a beautiful, spare, novel. Each of the mentally disabled people cared for by a couple in their home in a small Norwegian village is seen with acceptance and respect by the narrator, their son. They all become as family in the years they live together. A grave sense of what is lost, especially for the mother, haunts the book. The setting details are lovely. Excellent reader (Alex Block).
The writing and translation of that writing of this book is lovely. The atmosphere is created with beautiful, rather haunting prose. Full of emotion, but very slow going. I’m full of admiration for the author, but just struggled to stay on track. Readers must give the book all their attention -it’s deserved. It’s not one I could pick up between classes and chores.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This poignant and beautiful story brings to life the story of one family made from three. The memories the narrator shares are moving and illustrate the differences between the way we live and understand life now and life in post war Norway. I'd have liked some expansion on the diagnoses of the siblings to give the story a slightly deeper narrative but overall it was an interesting read.
Becca-Rae Weidel
*I won this book from a goodreads giveaway for an honest review*
I genuinely tried to get through this book but just couldn't. It wasn't that it was a horrible story but it really didn't have much of a storyline and the events really only lasted for a page or two before it moved on to the next thing. It didn't feel like anything was building and there wasn't really enough to hold my interest.
Susan Ritz
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Melancholic and beautifully atmospheric story that reminded me in many ways of Out Stealing Horses,but without the epic quality. Gentle, quiet and sad, as I imagine Norway to be in the midst of winter, but also filled with love, kindness and empathy.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sara Bűrmen
Aug 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Nice story, boring narration style.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: winners
A good book took a little for me to get into it though
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Haunting. This seemed almost like a memoir rather than a novel. The description of the scenery made me feel as though I were seeing it with my own eyes.
Andreas Myreng
May 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Fint skrevet men klarer ikke å finne nok motivasjon til å lese resten.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
I gave up on this book, so the finished date is just when I decided to not read more. There is nice descriptive language in the book, but it wasn't enough to keep me interested in the grief storyline and the story of the five siblings. I didn't really enjoy the attitudes towards mentally disabled that are portrayed here, which definitely contributed to me not finishing it. It was a mix of pity and disdain.
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, norwegian

Jeg vet ikke helt hva jeg synes om denne boken. Innimellom var den veldig fint skrevet, og enkelte hendelser fremkalte sterke følelser i meg, men samtidig endte jeg opp med å kjede meg en god del underveis. Jeg synes den var litt bedre enn helt grei, men samtidig likte jeg den ikke helt heller.
Carina Svensson
En rörande historia som kunde förpackats mycket snyggare, särskilt språkligt. Lite för dokumentärisk stil för min smak.
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Veldig fint skrevet bok. Ikke en bok full av så masse handling, men en fin, rørende historie om en spesiell familie.
Jun 13, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. It is an advance reader's copy.
Janne Nygård
rated it liked it
Nov 21, 2013
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Gaute Heivoll studied creative writing at Boe from 2001-2, and has studied law at the University of Oslo and psychology at the University of Bergen. He has also worked as a teacher. Heivoll has written poems, short stories and essays for newspapers and literary magazines and has been included in many anthologies. He has also conducted courses in creative writing in Norway and France and has worked ...more