Keen

Ragnhild Eskeland KEEN teaser

 ‘How are different types of power expressed between two people? Sexual and physical power, but also class differences, economic and cultural power…When you are young, people are seemingly all alike and so differences become even more visible. They can be expressed in small details, like objects, habits or variations in speech patterns, but signal differences that can define a whole life.’

The dog days of summer have begun. The air is close and pores open up. The radio reports record temperatures. We meet Rebekka, Beate and Live, three girls in an unremarkable small town. They go on a trip to a cabin, planning to make tacos and drink some beers. They meet some older boys and the heat is unrelenting.

Keen is a book about landscape and love, about blossoming and identity. Rebekka is working through the memory of her recently deceased father, but her grief and the life she is in the process of putting behind her go hand in hand with her impatience for what is to come.

Eskeland writes young voices with gripping animation and is able to give life to both the long summers of youth and the quick pulse that accompanies teenage intimacy, brewing sexuality and social intrigue.

 

 

The realistic depictions of the friendship between Rebekka, Live and Beate, stand for me as one of the novel's really great strengths. The dialogue in particular, which in all its simplicity is masterfully written, shows the complexity and nuances of a theme far too seldom taken seriously in literature: friendship between teenage girls (...) Eskeland writes very well, with an elegance and precision that pleases me

Bokvennen- Litterær avis, Norway

...Keen is among the finest portrayals of youth I have read in the last ten years. The novel depicts a sweltering summer in the life of Rebekka, a young girl, and Eskeland succeeds in balancing realistic teenage chat with a darker and more mystical storyline. The book’s epigraph is taken from Birgitta Trotzig and in fact, Eskeland shows something of Trotzig’s calm authority in her own prose.

Carina Elisabeth Beddari, Morgenbladet, Norway