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Moment of Freedom: The Heiligenberg Manuscript (The History of Bestiality Trilogy #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  396 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
In its apocalyptic view of mankind and in its haunting, devastating portrayal of justice, Moment of Freedom reminds one of Revelation and Kafka's The Trial. Living high in the Alps in a German principality called Heiligenberg, our narrator tells us he's dutifully fulfilling his obligations as a Servant of Justice and acting as a daily witness to injustice masquerading as a ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by Norvik Press (first published 1966)
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I thought about how I'd staked everything on achieving one single thing: to be at peace with the world!

With the delicate string of dismal observations and a history leading to ambiguous queries, there’s an extraordinary ambition in motion here - of discerning humanity and its bestial ways. Moment of Freedom is a vital jewel in Jens Bjørneboe’s crowning achievement which took up the task of being the first step in reaching a summit of an unnatural, blood-capped mountain raised from the dead bod
Lynne King
I’m utterly passionate about this Norwegian author and this first book (which is a magnificent, inspirational masterpiece and not to be missed) in the trilogy The History of Bestiality. I actually read the second book first but I do believe that they can be read separately, even though each has its own nameless narrator.

I want this glorious work of art to be unburied and give my sincere thanks to the Norvik Press which was set up by the University of East Anglia, England with financial support
Rakhi Dalal
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in Buried Books
Recommended to Rakhi by: Garima

Ablaze in the anguish of a never ending human conflict, the ghost of humanity rises from the ashes in unnerving bestiality. Towns, cities, countries are engulfed in its uproar as it sweeps across. The torrent it causes upshot a cataclysm which spares no one. Unheard of crimes become possible; streets turn red, speckled with excrement of sordid actions. Mutilated souls wander through land of chaos unleashing havoc upon those still blameless. Humanity keeps dying and the cycle continues.

The only p
“They were handsome, proper and normal family fathers who built the concentration camps and whipped the prisoners to death. And who was Nietzsche? A narcotized syphilitic.”

This extraordinary novel is the first of a trilogy (though each stands independent): Moment of Freedom ("Frihetens øyeblikk", 1966); Powderhouse ("Kruttårnet", 1969); and The Silence ("Stillheten", 1973). This trilogy, entitled “The History of Bestiality” (also the title of the book being composed by the unnamed narrator), is
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves Sebald, Bernhard, Handke has to be like that so that injustice can take its course. 43
This book is a devastating evocation of violence, immorality, and injustice, made only slightly more palatable by the blackest of humor and a dash of literary tact to taste. For literature has always had a certain quality of a screen -- it both exposes and hides. Literature is a comfort. Think of Sebald, Bernhard and Handke, authors who come to mind when reading this one, but there is a holding back in those books, a fear that na
M. Sarki

First, this title came highly recommended. And the novel for me began with a bang but then quickly fizzled into something unexpected, like a personal fact-filled and chronological childhood memoir of sorts. Because of this unthinkable development my doubts rose and my spirits waned. I engaged again my reading friends and expressed to them my troubled mind. They assured me to continue on, that soon enough this author Jens would woo me in again with his hate
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's important, when people mention the narrator's multi-volume series "The History of Bestiality," to consider secondary definitions of the word "beastility." The expectation is that the narrator is compiling "protocols" regarding human beings doing it with animals: dogs, sheep, donkeys, cats, perhaps rats and monkeys, too. Alas, it's more about human beings behaving like beasts -- something more common than inter-species intercourse. Dashed bestiality-related expectations didn't disappoint me ...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Mar 22, 2013 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nathan "N.R." by: Jonathan
Shelves: 2015-gelesen
okay so I know this is kind of ridiculous to talk about this as a BURIED book ; but look, it’s got a still=shiny seal of certification!!! But, 252 ratings!? 19 reviews?!! Yes! But that’s today, not two years ago when SPADE=Wield’er Jonathan discovered the enticing Without a Stitch and the whole backstory about Bjørneboe jostling some censorious powers-which-were. The way we count this though is against the background of a reading public which is largely illiterate in the way of literature=in=tra ...more
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a fictional narrative.

The narrator has no name, or better he has forgotten his name, so let's just call him I.. I. is living in an alpine valley in the town of Heiligenberg and is working there as a court usher. From Heiligenberg I. leads us to different stages of his life, not necessarily in chronological order and with – as I. himself admits – huge gaps in his memory. He tells us about his time in Stockholm during WWII, his stay in Tuscany and visiting the Catacombs of Rome, about
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is remarkably sad. Bjørneboe is nihilistic and depressing, but it's all so damn beautiful at the same time. Touching on the cruelties of the human species, it's hard not to share Bjørneboe's sentiments and his bitterness and his disappointment in humanity.

It's hard, too, not to feel sympathy for Bjørneboe. He tried to take his own life at 13 - and he described it as a perfectly executed hanging that somehow went wrong - and eventually he did end up taking his own life at 55.

There is t
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was an amazing drunken ride, exploring myriad themes now familar with centures of Continental literature. Alienation abounds, the spirit suffers. That said, there remains a freshness to the horror, it is vivid beyond any category and narrative arc.

I had picked this up from the library and was then disconcerted to discover the trilogy is woefully out-of-print and rather difficult to locate.
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
this is an interesting novel by a norwegian writer that i had never heard of, but discovered while browsing through goodreads, as i often do. it's the first book in a trilogy in which the narrator is writing the history of bestiality in which he collects newspaper clippings, articles, photos etc. of man's inhumanity to man, of which there is a pretty much endless supply.

unfortunately, there is really very little about this project in the novel, it is only mentioned in passing a few times. instea
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Martin
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Power, which is the only existing principle, means only one thing: The ability to make other people suffer".


"Authority claims to be legitimate. The law claims to be just. The powers that be claim to represent freedom - because freedom means to realize the necessity of bowing before power".

It's a wonder Bjørneboe managed to hang on until the age of 55 before killing himself. His life seems to be a tragic story of a man of great sensitivity who roams the world, observing its cruelty, while t
Nov 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: translation, fiction
part 1 of the so-called history of beastiality trilogy by jens bjørneboe, a somewhat obscure norwegian writer, painter, and social critic. out of print (i believe), but well worth tracking down.
la Maga De Rayuela
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
ქვეყანა ხომ ხან საპნის ბუშტებით იწყება, ხან მზის სხივებით, ხან ვარსკვლავებით და ხანაც ექსკრემენტებით. ასე უფრო ადვილი სათქმელია “დაწყება დასაწყისიდან “. მაგრამ ეს ბრჭყალებში ჩასმაც როგორ უცნაურად მოქმედებს ადამიანზე. თითქოს რაღაც გამოუთქმელად ორაზროვანს ყალბფსკერიანსა და კუზიანს აწებებ სიტყვას. მე არ ვენდობი ასეთ სიტყვებს.
როცა წიგნი დავხურე, მივხვდი, რომ ეს იყო საკუთარ თავთან შეუსაბამოდ გახდომის მომენტი. და თუ იენსს დავიმოწმებთ, გაუცხოების სწორედ ამ საფეხურით იწყება თავისუფლება. ალბათ , სწორედ ე
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do not recommend - extremely depressing.
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
just amazing book
William Dearth
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: norwegian
There is no point trying to review this awesome book as there are many excellent reviews posted on the goodreads site. I will say that there are not a lot of things here that will surprise you, but you may not have heard them explained this way or in this context.

I was fascinated with the detail he used to explain how the forests and land at Verdun, Flanders et al were revitalized by the number of corpses buried there and the metric tons of excrement left there by the hundreds of thousands of so
Harald Nordbø
Dette er en slik bok som krever en del tilvenning, derfor brukte jeg over en måned på å lese den. Språket er egentlig ikke det som gjør romanen god, og den er egentlig ikke først og fremst et mesterverk "som roman", men som et slags essay eller i hvert fall et slags journalistisk skjønnlitteratur. Det er en slik bok som først og fremst handler om innholdet, formen er helt sekundær i mine øyne. Uansett, les den. Nå.
Lin Karlsen
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite authors when I was younger. This is the first part in the triology "History of bestiality". An absolute must-read
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow...this blew me away. Has to be up there among the top-10 best post-war European novels ever, and sadly, I'm not at all surprised that Bjorneboe took his own life ten years later. Highly recommended.
Gijs Grob
Het is gemakkelijker om van deze 'autobiografische roman' te zeggen wat het niet is dan wat het wel is: het is geen autobiografie, geen roman, geen verhaal en geen vastomlijnd boek. Het is wel een poging van een Noorse klerk in Heiligenberg, het alter-ego van Bjørneboe, om zijn geheugen, dat grote gaten bevat, terug te halen. Het resultaat is een curieuze en volstrekt richtingloze zoektocht naar herinneringen, die bol staan van drank, ellende, hoeren, ellende, reizen, drank, oorlog en ellende.

Beka Sukhitashvili
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norwegian
"გაუცხოების ბოლო საფეხურზე - საკუთარ თავთან შეუსაბამოდ გახდომის მომენტიდან - იწყება თავისუფლება: ..."

სასწრაფოდ მინდა შევიძინო მე-2 და მე-3 წიგნები წიგნის ფესტივალზე, მაგრამ საქმე ისაა, რომ არ ვიცი რომელ გამომცემლობას უნდა მივადგე. რას ნიშნავს ეს მტრედის ტანიანი ბიჭუნას ლოგო აკრიანის წიგნებზე? ან მე მეჩვენება რაღაც. ვივლი წიგნებს შორის, იქნებ გადავეყარო სადმე...
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: related-books
Not the easiest and most fun to read one, but it's so mainly because its strengths. If books are the ambitious medium for somewhat deeper reflecting public, and not just a smooth bed time story, than this is a great one and we all should read more of similar.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great book. Anarcho-nihilism at its best
rated it it was amazing
Sep 17, 2009
Steffen Berntsen
rated it really liked it
Jan 27, 2016
Daniel Fullman
rated it really liked it
Oct 01, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Jan 31, 2012
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Jens Ingvald Bjørneboe was a Norwegian writer whose work spanned a number of literary formats. He was also a painter and a waldorf school teacher. Bjørneboe was a harsh and eloquent critic of Norwegian society and Western civilization on the whole. He led a turbulent life and his uncompromising humanity would cost him both an obscenity conviction as well as long periods of heavy drinking and bouts ...more
More about Jens Bjørneboe...

Other Books in the Series

The History of Bestiality Trilogy (3 books)
  • Kruttårnet
  • The Silence

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“I now see clearly what I had vaguely known before: that I have never lived my life. I've lived my spouse's life, my father's life, my siblings', my children's, my neighbors' lives, other people's lives. I have filled the role which others expected or demanded of me. This I lived up to, and I would rather have been the greatest criminal, but committed my crimes myself.” 2 likes
“But this laughter is the reason why the Tuscans invented science and the clear Tuscan drawing in their cool paintings; laughter means distance. Conversely: where laughter is absent, madness begins. Every time I've had a chance to observe an outbreak of psychosis or a first-rate clinical anxiety neurosis the signal has been given in the absence of humor—the moment one takes the world with complete seriousness one is potentially insane. The whole art of learning to live means holding fast to laughter; without laughter the world is a torture chamber, a dark place where dark things will happen to us, a horror show filled with bloody deeds of violence.” 0 likes
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