Norwegian by Night (Hardcover)

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June 2013 Indie Next List

“Sheldon Horowitz, an 80-year-old Korean War veteran, has a touch of dementia and goes to live with his daughter and son-in-law in Norway, where he becomes further disoriented. One day what sounds like violence breaks out in the upstairs apartment and a young boy's life appears to be at risk. Sheldon becomes the boy's protector/abductor, fleeing in disguise through the countryside as exiled Serbian war criminals and Norwegian cops give pursuit and the old man's Marine sniper skills come back to him. A wild, compelling, politically complex, and sometimes funny tale that is a very rich read, this is highly recommended.”
— Richard Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, MS


Crime Writers Association John Creasey Dagger Award winner
A luminous novel, a police thriller, and the funniest book about war crimes and dementia you are likely to read
Sheldon Horowitz widowed, impatient, impertinent has grudgingly agreed to leave New York and move in with his granddaughter, Rhea, and her new husband, Lars, in Norway: a country of blue and ice with one thousand Jews, not one of them a former Marine sniper in the Korean War turned watch repairman, who failed his only son by sending him to Vietnam to die. Not until now, anyway.
Home alone one morning, Sheldon witnesses a dispute between the woman who lives upstairs and an aggressive stranger. When events turn dire, Sheldon seizes and shields the neighbor's young son from the violence, and they flee the scene. But old age and circumstances are altering Sheldon's experience of time and memory. He is haunted by dreams of his son Saul's life and by guilt over his death. As Sheldon and the boy look for a haven in an alien world, reality and fantasy, past and present, weave together, forcing them ever forward to a wrenching moment of truth.
"Norwegian by Night" introduces an ensemble of unforgettable characters Sheldon and the boy, Rhea and Lars, a Balkan war criminal named Enver, and Sigrid and Petter, the brilliantly dry-witted investigating officers as they chase one another, and their own demons, through the wilderness at the end of the world.

Praise For…

"Has the brains of a literary novel and the body of a thriller."
New York Times

"Both an exciting chase thriller and a poignant story about a man who comes into his own again in his dotage." --Library Journal

"No brief plot outline can do justice to a book that deserves to find a place on a few best-of-the-year lists. Sheldon is a brilliantly imagined character, a true mensch, made of Greatest Generation stuff...Miller joins the ranks of Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, and Jo Nesbø, the holy trinity of Scandinavian crime novelists." --Booklist, starred "Miller's affecting debut, about a cantankerous Jewish widower transplanted to Norway who becomes party to a hate crime, is an unusual hybrid: part memory novel, part police procedural, part sociopolitical tract and part existential meditation. Miller, an American living in Oslo...makes the setting a powerful character...The novel, first published in Norway, was worth the wait." --Kirkus Reviews "A literate, thoughtful and unusual thriller...Our image of Scandinavia is one of tolerance — Miller doesn’t disagree with the image, but Norwegian by Night offers a fascinating fictional exploration of the meaning and implementation of that tolerance." --The Times (UK) "Norwegian by Night has all the ingredients of a top-notch thriller, but it's the superb characterisation of the protagonist that fuels true suspense. Funny and moving as well as thoroughly gripping, this is crime fiction of the highest order." --The Guardian "Much more than an enjoyable thriller. It is a beautifully written tale of love and loss...One of the best novels of the year."—Jenni Frazer, The Jewish Chronicle (UK) "This highly visual storytelling reads like a first draft of the script for an action-packed, emotionally satisfying movie, one that will appeal to both sexes." Jewish Book Council Norwegian by Night's n ot just a great title, it's also a soulful, humane, and sparklingly funny novel. Spend some time with Sheldon and company in the Scandinavian wilderness and you just might make peace with your god, your ghosts, and yourself. -- Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story "Brilliant, serious literary crime and our favorite thing, Scandi-noir, but with a twist..." - Erica Wagner, The Times '100 people to watch in 2013' (UK) "NORWEGIAN BY NIGHT is an outrageously intelligent thriller, and its philosopher-sniper hero, Sheldon Horowitz, is a character who'll stay in your brain for decades. You might come for the guns and the ruckus, but by the last page, with your heart still pounding, you'll be crying at all the goddamned beauty and love in the world." - Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River and The Cradle "Norwegian by Night shifts along like an inquisitive wind, with characters who enter your mind so easily it’s as if they’ve been there all along, and a voice so confident you would follow it into a leaning house. Generous with its wit, dazzling in its cultural and historical reach, Derek Miller’s novel is the kind of sweep-you-up tale a reader always wants but rarely finds, the kind where you stand in the bookstore reading the opening pages and whisper, This is the one."—Leif Enger, bestselling author of Peace Like a River "Have you ever lucked into one of those novels so taut and suspenseful that you can't turn the pages fast enough, yet, at the same time, so magnificently written and psychologically incisive that you find yourself unable to turn those same pages slowly enough? Such novels are as rare as great comets. Norwegian by Night, I'm happy to report, is one. Make sure you're in a comfortable spot when cracking this book; you won't be putting it down for an obscenely long while."—Jonathan Miles, author of Dear American Airlines "Humane, blackly funny, heartbreaking, full of believable people and with a touching, magnificent hero in Sheldon, this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Verdict: Brilliant."Herald Sun (Australia) "Norwegian By Night [is] ostensibly a Scandinavian thriller yet recalls Saul Bellow and Philip Roth’s more cerebral creations…A remarkably confident debut that is at once a rich psychological study, a political ­parable that seems to be about America’s compulsion to intervene abroad, and a moving story of an old man’s last chance to slay his demons."—John Dydale, The Sunday Times (UK) "A stunningly good debut thriller, subtle and moving, with a truly original hero…Literate, elegant and compelling."—Marcel Berlins, The Times (UK) "From the synopsis, it is impossible to harness all the themes and subtlety of prose that this book conveys to the reader. On one level, not only does the book contain all the quintessential elements of a Scandinavian crime novel, it also encompasses the Korean, Vietnam, and Balkan conflicts, and on a more emotional level, presents a poignant and meditative examination of aging and regret…I would urge everyone to read this exceptional debut, with its powerful and emotive themes…[as well as] all the tension of a totally authentic Scandinavian crime thriller. I cannot praise it highly enough, and Norwegian By Night could well be one of my top crime reads of the year. Outstanding." —Raven Crime Reads (blog) Bookseller Praise "This is a debut novel that has the pace and plot of a thriller, the hilarious patter (often internal) of an 82 year old former Marine sniper who happens to be Jewish, and a setting that manages to tie together a vast history of horrifying war crimes. Norwegian By Night is the sort of book you finish in a day, and with tears in your eyes thrust upon the next person you see. Sheldon Horowitz, recently widowed, moves to Norway to live with his grand-daughter and her Norwegian husband. Cranky, possibly demented, and still mourning the decades old loss of his son in Viet Nam, Sheldon witnesses a violent murder and flees with the victim's son. Each character, from the Balkan war criminal, the two police officers, to the mute young boy, is beautifully developed, and though this is a thriller, it is one with a heart as deep and true as Sheldon himself. This book is much more reminiscent of City of Thieves than Girl With Dragon Tattoo, and you will be pulling for Sheldon, definitely a New Yorker, as he struggles in a Wallender world. Brilliant."—Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL "Part crime novel, part escape story of an old man on the lam, quirky yet full of philosophical depth while menace waits in the wings this novel covers a lot of territory. Sheldon, thought to be dipping into dementia by his family grabs a 10 yr old boy to get him out of terrible danger in a quixotic road trip while he is also deeply lamenting the loss of his only son years before in Vietnam. Norwegian by Night is smart, moving and incredibly easy to love."—Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, CA "I loved all the characters in this novel and especially getting into the head of Sheldon, the main character. Is he senile or is he especially sane. Suspense and action kept the story moving quickly making the book difficult to put down. Also, the less fjordy side of Norway is revealed and given light." —Linda Ramsdell, Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
Product Details
ISBN: 9780547934877
ISBN-10: 0547934874
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
Publication Date: May 21st, 2013
Pages: 304
Language: English