Linn Ullmann: Portrait of a Family
‘I was his child and her child, but not their child,’ Linn Ullmann writes in Unquiet, ‘it was never us three.’ This sense of dispossession and longing haunt the pages of the Norwegian literary star’s elusive, quietly devastating novel; the story of a daughter, now in middle age, brimming with words unsaid and memories in flux.
Ullmann’s protagonist filters through old tape recordings made alongside her late father — relics of an abandoned book project — in a grief-stricken effort to build a narrative of her formative years that she can finally make peace with. The parallels towards Ullmann’s parentage — she is the only daughter of screen icons Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman — are plain to see.
Described as "a pure tour de force" by Ali Smith, Unquiet has spent more than a year on top of the Scandinavian bestseller lists. Ullmann talks to Lee Randall about her gorgeous impressionistic approach to storytelling and how she achieved such a delicate blend of literary modes, where truth and fiction meet. Isn’t life, after all, the ultimate story?