Roy Jacobsen The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles

ISBN 13: 9780719520921

The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles

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9780719520921: The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles
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Set in Finland in 1939, this is the story of one man who remains in his home town when everyone else has fled, burning down their houses in their wake, before the invading Russians arrive.


Timo remains behind because he can't imagine life anywhere else, doing anything else besides felling the trees near his home. This is a novel about belonging - a tale of powerful and forbidden friendships forged during a war, of unexpected bravery and astonishing survival instincts.


The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles is not a novel about war, but about the lives of ordinary people dragged into war, each of whom only wants to find the path back home.


Roy Jacobsen uses the dramatic natural landscape of light and darkness, fire-blazing heat and life-robbing cold to spectacular effect.

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Review:

'Wonderful novella...he captures the intense cold beautifully' (Daily Telegraph)

'A compact and compelling novel by an iconic Norwegian writer...[and] thanks to Don Bartlett and Don Shaw's crisp translation, we see it obliquely' (Boyd Tonkin, Independent)

A strange, impressively understated novel . . . a daunting, traditional narrative which asserts itself from page one and, like the winter cold, refuses to relax its hold. (Irish Times)

'Jacobsen excels in his portrait of what it means to be an outsider' (Anita Sethi, Independent)

Jacobsen is a gifted writer, stylish, laconic and imaginative, and he is well served by his translators, Don Bartlett and Don Shaw . . . a powerful and well-written account of an unfamilliar episode in the Second World War. (TLS)

'An inventive wordsmith and a great storyteller, [Jacobsen] never sacrifices substance for style. His research is meticulous; he knows when to hold back and let the unspoken speak for itself, the hallmark of an author so familiar with his subject that he knows precisely where to let the reader fill in the gaps. As he often places his characters in the midst of historical events and social change, the reader feels more emotionally involved than a mere observer would: The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles is a gem of a novel. (Independent)

'The perfect Christmas one-sitting novel' (Bath Life)

'A strange, understated and compelling tale' (Northern Echo)

'This deceptively simple novel is multi-layered and fascinating' (Shropshire Star)

'Atmospheric novel' (Source Magazine)

From the Author:

I have worked as a logger for many years. And all my adult life I have been interested in the history of wars. I know Finnish Karelia quite well. When I was in hospital in 2004 the idea about Timmo came to me as though heaven-sent. I got out of hospital, sat down at my desk and didn't get to my feet again until the novel was finished. I have always had a soft spot for outsiders, not only because naturally enough I sympathise with them, or identify with them, but also because exceptions don't only say something about exceptions, they also say something about the rule - polite common people, those who obey orders, everything that the exception - the outsider - stands out against. So with the outsider you have two stories: the outsider's and the insider's. I also wanted to say something about civilisation. This novel is not inspired by drawing room political correctness nor by socialism's demand for solidarity and ideological conviction, but simply a life that springs from necessity. In many ways this novel is a fable, a realistic fable, about something which I believe is genuinely human, a fable about the goodness in man.

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Roy Jacobsen
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