Hanne Ørstavik

The Blue Room

A novel about a mother-daughter relationship that will send a chill down your spine.

Johanne is a young woman in her twenties who lives with her mother. When she falls in love with Ivar, she finally feels ready to leave home. The couple plan a trip to America. But the morning of her departure, Johanne wakes up to find the door locked. Can she overcome her fears? Will she shout for help? Will she climb out of her fourth floor window?

Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘Everyone who has read Fifty Shades of Grey should read this book. Why? The Blue Room holds up a mirror to a part of the female psyche that yearns for submission. The story shows how erotic fantasies are formed by the relationship with our parents. It then delves further to analyse the struggle of women to separate from their mothers — a struggle that is rarely addressed in either literature or society.’ Meike Ziervogel

‘A masterpiece of unreliable narration.’ Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

‘A highly unusual, coolly daring psychological thriller that explores emotional pain and indifference with an unsettling detachment.’ Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

‘A work of chilling, masterly control.’ Laura Profumo, Times Literary Supplement

‘Nothing is certain, no motive is clear and no person is above suspicion in Ørstavik’s perfectly pitched, tightly stitched and captivating brain-teaser.’ Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post

‘Ørstavik treats the everyday and existential with intensity.’ Max Liu, Independent

‘Psychologically astute and deftly translated … A brilliant examination of a woman struggling to own her sexuality, to break free from the guilt and forge her own identity.’ Lucy Popescu, Tablet

146 printed pages
Original publication
Peirene Press


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