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Will and Testament (Verso Fiction)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,933 ratings  ·  377 reviews
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Verso (first published September 1st 2016)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,933 ratings  ·  377 reviews

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Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 84 pages of this book were close to mind numbing. It was as if the author was reciting a mantra about her fathers final will to calm herself. As each page melted into the next there were small hints revealed as to where the story was headed. By page 84 the narrator is angry. Shes hammering out emails to her younger sisters calling them on their self righteousness. She forms an alliance with her brother as the family unravels. Something is terribly wrong. The narrator has voluntarily ...more

3.5 stars

This book, set in Norway, revolves around the unresolved childhood trauma of a middle-aged woman named Bergljot.

Bergljot is a divorced theater critic with three grown children who's been estranged from her parents and sisters for decades. Bergljot is drawn back into her family's orbit when her brother Bård, who's also alienated from their parents, contacts her about an inheritance.

Bergljot and Bård's parents bequeathed their two vacation cabins to their daughters Astrid and Åsa
Katia N
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've picked up this book because Ive read A House in Norway by Vigdis Hjorth and it has left a lasting impression on me. As far as I know, only these two of her books have been translated into English. Both books focus on difficult moral dilemmas. And Hjorth investigates them with unflinching honesty and forensic attention to detail, which makes a very thought-provoking compelling read.

The house in Norway was dealing with a contradictory, often conflicting relationship between a local host and
Tanja Berg
The truth is I didn't like it. I've spent several days trying to not read. Yet there's been such spectacular fuss around this book here in Norway - for its semi autobiographical content - that I had to finish. Ugh. I could have just left it after 50 pages, when I first started wondering whether it was worth it, for all it gave me. A waste of time and patience.

The book starts with an argument over the inheritance of two summer cottages and descends into washing the family's dirty laundry so to
Paul Fulcher
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I tapped Lars on the shoulder and asked if I could read something to him. He looked at me, hoping it didnt have anything to do with inheritance.

Will and Testament translated by Charlotte Barslund from Arv og miljø by Vigdis Hjorth was recently longlisted for the 2019 National Book Awards for Translated Literature.

The novel starts with the first person narrator, Bergljot, telling us how her Dad died five months earlier, just days after she had herself become embroiled in a dispute between her
Paul Ataua
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pomegranates were pretty rare in my area when I was a child, but whenever my mother came across them at the market, she would bring a couple home for me and my brother. As we know, the pomegranate has very small seeds surrounded with a juicy red pulp that is so delicious, but getting to that heavenly center requires a great deal of effort forcing your way through the tough thick peel and the flesh that covers it. Will and Testament is a pomegranate of a book. At the center is a special and not ...more
Anna Marie
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
this novel is about child sexual abuse [and this review is also about that] [and i would say includes emotional abuse and alcohol/addiction too].

i'm not sure how public i want to be about my response to this novel on goodreads lol but i would like that say that in a few/some/many/too many ways this novel is about me and my family, about the winding conflicts and the repetitive, painful conversations. the way the family narrative perpetuates itself through each of us, creating roles, hiding
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, I suggest you read the book without checking reviews or blurbs because I felt my reading experience spoiled with the short descriptions I saw. If you have had a preview, stick with the book, since the second half is more rewarding than the first, if their has been a spoiler revealed. Second, if you must read a review, Check out Paul Fulcher's:

He stated better all of what I planned to say plus more.

This leaves me only to add that I found myself
Ellen Springelkamp
This was hard to get through for me. Even though the premise of the novel looked interesting, the style of writing was tedious.
I felt like the author just randomly jotted down her feelings jumping back and forth in time, and forgetting she already wrote certain things. The repetitiveness was bizarre. Even in the same paragraph the same things were being said. Example: I could not sleep. I laid awake. I could not sleep because of this and that. I could not sleep etc etc.
Well I could definitely
Ann Ingebrigtsen
L-O-V-E-D I-T!
Tamara Agha-Jaffar
Will and Testament by Vigdis Hjorth, translated by Charlotte Barslund, is the first-person narrative of Bergljot, a woman in her fifties who has been estranged from her family for over two decades. An inheritance dispute and the death of her father forces Bergljot to interact with her family. Every interaction with them dredges up memories of the past as Bergljot struggles to understand her familys choice of denying the truth of her childhood trauma. The nature of the trauma is alluded to but ...more
I don't think this book will be for everyone. The style is either going to grab you or not, but I found it good and engrossing. It is really one of the free books I read that really does tackle mental health in a good way.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book wrecked me and I am a better person for it.
Thank you for writing it.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I have hesitated long before reading "Arv og miljø". There was a long debate about how writers should or should not write about their own experiences. About the boarder between reality and fiction? About the right to violate private lives.
I did not read "Arv og miljø". I listened to it. The story is read by Vigdis Hjort herself. I'm astonished. The novel is furious, but wise, painful, but thoughtful. Hjort alternates between depictions of the main character's experiences of her family and
Ryan Jarjoura
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I think this is the first book that's made me understand the power of the novel as a medium. The story doesn't ultimately end in catharsis, but neither do most of the struggles in our lives. Throughout this story, we see Bergljot try SO hard to just tell her story and be listened to. The cyclical nature in the story is reminiscent of how we experience our memories in real time--we remember things based on events that trigger the memories. The narrative of our life is not built up ...more
Gustaf  Runius
Ok, not very exiting or interesting family drama. Persons are more clipboard figures than fully developed characters.

Still the topics of relations between siblings and parents, love, rivalry, shame and the question if something really happened are interesting topics. Too bad that the characters are not better, then this might have been a really good book
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere in here is a really good book, but it's drowning in repetition and overwriting.
Dec 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Never finished the book, the fuss about the heritance went on and on, I got bored with the book
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book captures so many aspects of family dispute/drama/disruption. There's the falling out between individuals, the ripples that run through the rest of the family unit, and then (for this family) the complication of an inheritance - allegedly to be distributed equally - and four children, two who have fallen out with the parents and two who have not. There's questions of alliances and allegiances, reliable/unreliable narrators and memories, and if money transferred somehow then requires a ...more
Simon Kearney
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm fascinated by the ways in which parents screw up their kids. It seems no matter what you do it can't be helped. The only question for parents is how to minimise the damage.
Here the damage to the protagonist is so vivid. The parents attempts to minimise the damage to the family only wreak more havoc, deservedly so given what happened. It runs like a river through generations.
The characters vulnerabilities are the underlying story. You're forced to question your sympathies. And everyone is
Ignatius Vonnegut
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inside-top-300
Close to a 5 star rating. It's very intimate and thorough around its theme. I only miss something concerning "the rest of her life" outside the incest story.

One of the lasting impressions was the authors picture of herself. All in. Good and bad...
Harald Kirkerød
Read it all in one sitting. Couldn't put it down! Powerful stuff.
Jay Moran
I knew exactly how it would play out; once I had contributed to it myself. I had been so completely enmeshed in the family's version of its own story. It wasn't until I became estranged myself, until I had distanced myself, that I started to look at things differently, but still slowly, taking baby steps, such is the power parental stories have over a child's concept of reality that it's almost impossible to free yourself.
And had I managed to free myself? Or was I still stuck, and had the name
Andy Weston
Its isnt very often fortunately, but every now and then a book finds its way onto my list that really doesnt suit, an error, by me, in selecting it. I fell for that old trap, the publishers blurb, and I should have known better. The narrative is often repetitive and many of the passages in the first third of the book on family dynamics struggled to hold my attention.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really beautiful book that at times seems to stray into stream of consciousness and Jungian psychobabble, but when it comes back, it hits hard. The topic and revelations are not for the faint of heart so beware if you have a history of trauma or abuse.
Johanna Hammarström
This story is filled with anxiety and the topic is so awful all the way through.
All props to Hjort for writing it so openly.
Johanna Diehl
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I much appreciate it because of the theme she dares to bring up!
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice language.
Katherine Kreuter
Deeply strange but won't let you go. I felt I had to finish it although you get to the end and go 'huh?' The writing style is stark as some instruction-manual, but that I think is the author's intent. I struggled to understand why this was such a best seller until I read more about the author's back story and supposition about how much of this novel is true. But should that make it a great book? Don't think so. Still, the part of the plot centering on family and inheritance is well done and I'm ...more
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Vigdis Hjorth (born 1959) is a Norwegian novelist. She grew up in Oslo, and has studied philosophy, literature and political science.

In 1983, she published her first novel, the children's book "Pelle-Ragnar i den gule gården" for which she received Norsk kulturråd's debut award. Her first book for an adult audience was "Drama med Hilde" (1987). "Om bare" from 2001 is considered her most important

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