A senior-school teacher in his fifties begins his day as usual, picking up his briefcase and some headache pills and after a cordial goodbye to his wife, leaving for work as he has done every morning for the past twenty-five years. However, this autumn morning is to be the start of no ordinary day. Though familiar with his students' hostile attitude towards both his lectures and himself, today he feels their enmity touch deeper than ever before and, after a passionate lecture on Ibsen's The Wild Duck, it precipitates a crisis.
He reaches a decision that forces an assessment of his choice of life, of his marriage and ultimately of his values and worth in modern society. He is, to his own mind, 'plagued by the fact I am a socially aware individual who no longer has anything to say'.
Shyness and Dignity is a universal story of a man lost in a world that no longer recognises either him or his talent. Nabokov and Bernhard are echoed in this tour de force from Norway's leading contemporary writer.
Translated from the Norwegian by Sverre Lyngstadshow more