This novel has a lot of staying power. It seems at first to consist of several stories. One is set in the mid-eighties: a young man has completed his military service and returns to his childhood home in rural Norway. The father is dead, the mother works as a cleaning lady and spits blood, the little brother is of superior intellectual rigor. The young man hangs around, he gets drunk and falls in love. At the same time, a conservative government collapses in Oslo, and after the explosion of a nuclear power plant in Ukraine, radioactive clouds sweep over the country. Eventually, he finds temporary employment at a funeral home. Then the story breaks off, halfway through the book, and a new narrative begins: it carries itself into Russia before the recent war, and deals with art as well as with the inner life of trees. And there are a few other, shorter stories, fragments that one suspects belong in a larger context. But what combines a portion of fried eggs and bacon with a riff of Metallica? How do a football game in Norway’s lowest league and the ascetic teachings of old Tolstoy go together?