WINNER OF THE 2023 NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE
2022 International Booker Prize, Finalist
2022 National Book Award, Finalist
New York Times Editors’ Choice
"With Septology, Fosse has found a new approach to writing fiction, different from what he has written before and—it is strange to say, as the novel enters its fifth century—different from what has been written before. Septology feels new."—WYATT MASON, HARPERS
Asle is an aging painter and widower who lives alone on the west coast of Norway. His only friends are his neighbor, Åsleik, a traditional fisherman-farmer, and Beyer, a gallerist who lives in the city. There, in Bjørgvin, lives another Asle, also a painter but lonely and consumed by alcohol. Asle and Asle are doppelgängers—two versions of the same person, two versions of the same life. Written in melodious and hypnotic “slow prose,” A New Name is the final installment of Jon Fosse’s Septology, “a major work of Scandinavian fiction” (Hari Kunzru) and an exquisite metaphysical novel about love, art, God, friendship, and the passage of time.
In the beautiful and unsettling final volume of Fosse's Septology (after I Is Another), the author increasingly complicates the reader's understanding of a painter named Asle. As in previous volumes, the perspective switches between Asle's first-person narration and a close third, with the arc here consisting of Asle's reminiscences about love and church as he wraps up some business with his gallery so he can join his friend Åsleik and Åsleik's sister Guro for Christmas. With the two viewpoints, Fosse continues to toy with the suggestion that these are two separate men named Asle who have led almost identical lives, with minor differences. Guro is also twinned—one version has her living in town, another in the country, but in both, the character's looks and disposition are similar. This haunting tale holds an intriguing puzzle at its heart: can existence only be understood as a kind of paradox? Fosse infuses the mystery with Asle's frequent paraphrasing of the German Catholic theologian Meister Eckhart ("God becomes God in the soul and the soul becomes the soul in God"), bringing insight to questions of love, art, and faith. This offers a stirring exploration of life and identity.