Loe, Erlend

Loe, Erlend
   A Norwegian novelist, Loe is considered one of the most promising young writers in Norway. He had his debut with the novel Tatt av kvinnen (1993; Taken by Woman), the title of which is a pun on the Norwegian translation of Margaret Mitchell s classic novel Gone with the Wind (1936), or Tatt av vinden (1937). In a satirical representation of love and marriage in Norway in the 1990s, a strong young woman moves in with a weak young man, who soon finds his life taken over by her and her unborn child by another man. Loe s verbal situation comedy is balanced by hints that the essence of the story is perhaps not too uncommon. Humor is also an important characteristic of Loe's next novel, Naiv. Super. (1996; tr. Naive. Super., 2001), in which the protagonist, whose weakness of personality is similar to that ofthe narrator in Tatt av kvinnen, is obsessed with finding the meaning of life, including the origin of the universe. His hyperreflectivity makes for a great deal of comedy, including his experiences during an extended visit to New York.
   Loe's gifts as a satirist are also displayed in L (1999), a first-person narrative about an expedition to an island in the Pacific Ocean where, supposedly, a group of seven "explorers" will be looking for skates used by Native Americans at a time when the Pacific was covered with ice. L is an effective satire on the literature of exploration as represented by such Norwegian luminaries as Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) and Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002).
   The protagonists of Loe's first three novels all share a concern about finding their place in society. They fear change, and that fear is given a more serious treatment in Loe s fourth novel, Fakta om Finland (2001; Facts of Finland), in which hydrophobia serves as its metaphor. In the novel Doppler (2004), the protagonist rebels against pressures to perform and conform by leaving city life in favor of a tent in the woods. Loe can still be funny, but his humor is tempered by a serious critique ofcivilization.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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