‘Long Live the Post Horn!’ By Vigdis Hjorth – Introspection at Its Most Nordic Miserable

 

‘Long Live the Post Horn!’ By Vigdis Hjorth (2013)  196 pages              Translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barsland

 

Much of  ‘Long Live the Post Horn!’ transpires in Oslo, Norway, home of our first person narrator, Ellinor:

Saturday morning in Oslo in late November. Morose people with their heads bowed against the cold. Slush under neath my feet and oppressive sky above my head. My chest felt tight and there was a blinding, enervating light in the shops mixed with Hammond organ music everywhere. Rushing people, their eyes frantic, humiliated, and wounded.”

The inner thoughts of our first person narrator Ellinor are often as gloomy as the Oslo weather, but sometimes we are all beset with such doubts. The usual fiction process is to remove any self-doubts from the main characters to achieve a more sprightly and lively read. Instead Vigdis Hjorth has loaded up young woman Ellinor, with misgivings about her approach to life.

I hadn’t made much progress, I was just as inadequate as I always had been.”

Ellinor is one of three members of a public relations team for Kraft-Com. The team’s new task is to convince the Norwegian public that a postal directive from the European Union should be rejected. This new postal directive would allow competition in postal service, the downside being that competitors would try to cut costs by cutting wages and services and thus ultimately reduce the mail service, especially for remote northern areas of Norway.

This novel was published in English recently, soon after Donald Trump and his Postmaster General Louis DeJoy deliberately damaged the United States Postal Service in order to interfere with the mail-in voting process. Now that was really dismal.

The Post Horn

Ellinor does have a boyfriend Stein to whom she composes the following letter:

I feel my life is too banal for despair. That our relationship is too trivial and not passionate enough for our despair. What do we do with our despair if our lives are too small to contain it?”

She tears up the letter and doesn’t send it.

Very little actually happens, and everything that does happen is filtered through this depressed woman Ellinor’s reverie. For the first three quarters of ‘Long Live the Post Horn!, we have a woman lost in self doubt. But then the novel finally does build to a somewhat jubilant climax.

This is Nordic literature with a vengeance.

 

Grade:    C+

 

 

7 responses to this post.

  1. Sounds like one of those novels that warrant ‘thanks for reading this so that we don’t have to!’

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Hi Lisa,
      That was pretty much my response; I wish someone else had read it instead of me.

      Like

      Reply

      • Sometimes I’m prepared to just put an unsatisfactory book ‘down to experience’ but other times, it makes me feel a bit resentful that I’ve wasted my time and money on it. This is usually when the blurb or (worse) other reviewers have led me up the garden path about it.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply

  2. Too bad this turned out to be so dull, as the basic idea sounds fairly interesting. Excellent review BTW.

    Like

    Reply

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