A small Norwegian town in August 1975. A heatwave. A 12-year-old girl, who is no longer a child. An incident that no one must know about. A dark secret – and an extraordinary love story.
As an adult, and apparently for the first time, Margrete shares the terrible truth of what happened when she was assaulted at a fairground in her childhood. Having grown up alone with a distant mother, she movingly describes the close bond she had with her grandfather and the one other person that truly saw her – a policeman who moves in across the hall. While providing the love she craves in the form of cocoa and company, Erling instinctively understands Margrete’s anguish.
How she comes to terms with the incident becomes the focus of Margrete’s reflections as she dwells not only on events and relationships, but also on the interplay of heat, light, smells and seasons. Margrete’s fragmented and haunting narrative is ultimately a powerful story of survival and acceptance – both of herself and her mother’s love.
Gerd Kvanvig was born in 1965 and grew up in Jessheim, near Oslo. Having decided her future lay in writing rather than ballet, she made her literary debut in 1994 with a poetry collection called Persona. As well as being an author, Gerd Kvanvig teaches Norwegian at Jessheim Upper Secondary School. She now lives in Oslo.
The Day that Didn’t Happen is a poetic, evocative text … Beautiful images are modified and repeated. …in which grief and song are identical, in which style and language and structure combine so decisively to create meaning. I don’t think I have entered a young girl’s mind and experienced the dangers so intensely since I read The Lover by Marguerite Duras. It is hard to give any greater praise than that.
Professor Hans H. Skei in Aftenposten
…intelligent and wise. The novel is written with empathy, and the writing is sensitive and atmospheric.
Kjersti Borgen Reisop in Romerikes Blad
The plot … resembles a crime novel. It tells the story of what happened at the Jessheim Festival bit by bit, allowing the reader to suspect things by means of a taut and reticent style.
Kristine Sele in Haugesunds Avis