The Murder of Halland
By Pia Juul
Translated by Martin Aitken
When Halland is found murdered almost right outside his door, his widow, Bess, is of course the prime suspect. She isn't worried about that, though, but about the daughter she abandoned years ago. As the police investigate, the slightly cantankerous Bess instead follows a trail ... Read more
When Halland is found murdered almost right outside his door, his widow, Bess, is of course the prime suspect. She isn't worried about that, though, but about the daughter she abandoned years ago. As the police investigate, the slightly cantankerous Bess instead follows a trail of her own regrets and misapprehensions.
Atmospheric and haunted by the uncanny, The Murder of Halland is anything but your typical whodunnit. It won Denmark's most important literary prize, Den Danske Banks Litteraturpris, and its English translation was longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Prize.
'[Juul's] writing is sparse, ascetic, and exquisite … a beautifully wrought narrative about reclamation, letting go, and moving on. '
– Publishers Weekly
'Anything but a standard crime novel. The mystery at its heart is the mystery we are to each other. '
'The Murder of Halland … is cooler and more calculated than any old Killing, and wrong-foots till it reveals the real mystery. '
– Ali Smith, author of How to Be Both
'Written with deft poetic precision, the compact scenes keep you turning pages breathlessly to get to the heart of the mystery and to the mystery of the narrator. TheMurderof Halland is beautifully realized – an instant Nordic noir classic – and also beautifully translated by Martin Aitken. '
– Thomas E. Kennedy, author of The Copenhagen Quartet
'Juul’s novella is a spare, elegant jewel … Terse and enigmatic, this novel is a classic to be savoured again and again. '
Martin Aitken has translated the work of contemporary Scandinavian writers such as Karl Ove Knausgaard, Peter Høeg, Ida Jessen, and Kim Leine. He was a finalist at the U.S. National Book Awards 2018 and received the PEN America Translation Prize 2019 for his translation of Hanne Ørstavik's Love. His translation of Olga Ravn's The Employees was shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize. Aitken lives in Denmark.