In the late 1970s, a pyromaniac runs amok in a close-knit community in rural Norway. Homes are burnt to a cinder, and panic spreads, as neighbors wonder who amongst them could be wreaking such fear and anguish. And slowly, almost imperceptibly, a mother comes to realize that her son is lighting the fires. Born into this time of chaos, Gaute Heivoll is indelibly linked to the arsonist intent on such destruction. By juxtaposing the pyromaniac's story with his own, Heivoll explores memory, loss, and the agonizing separation of child from parent that it is a rite of passage for us all. Written in fluid, luminous prose, Before I Burn is a literary sensation, by the foremost Norwegian writer of his generation.
"The book captivates despite revealing the identity of the fire starter early on. It succeeds as a dual character study: of the criminal as he goes about his wicked work, and of the narrator as he tries to make sense of a hazy but vital piece of his hometown's history." —New York Times
About The Author
Gaute Heivoll made his debut in 2002 with the prose collection Liten dansende gutt [Small Dancing Boy], and since then has written poetry, children's books, short stories, and novels. Heivoll was the recipient of the 2003 Tiden-prisen Prize. In 2006 he was the Norwegian representative to the Literary Festival Project Scritture Giovanni, and his short-story "Dr. Gordeau" was translated into English, German, and Italian.