The Loneliness in Lydia Erneman’s Life

By (author): Rune Christiansen

Translated by: Kari Dickson

Having grown up as an only child in Northern Sweden, Lydia is used to isolation and being on her own. She fills her days with her love of animals, nature, and hard work. She eventually settles into a career as a vet in rural Norway and embraces the rhythms of country life. In a series of poetic sketches, Lydia tends to the animals in her community, spends time with her aging parents, and falls in love. Despite an increasing need for closer human contact that begins to encroach on her contented solitude, ultimately it is Lydia’s satisfaction with her inner life that speaks of an elegance and hope often lost in these clamoring times.

Winner of the Brage Prize, the most prestigious award in Norwegian Literature, The Loneliness in Lydia Erneman’s Life is a quiet, beautiful exploration of solitude and how we relate to other beings. It has been lauded by European critics for doing something very rare: offering deep pleasure and joy in reading with little theatrics.Written in concise prose, the gravity and tranquility of this novel make it a gift—a soothing, contemplative offering about the depths of our inner worlds.


Rune Christiansen

RUNE CHRISTIANSEN is a Norwegian poet and novelist. One of Norway’s most important literary writers, he is the author of more than 20 books of fiction, poetry and nonfiction. He has won many prestigious awards, including the 2014 Brage Prize for his bestselling novel, The Loneliness in Lydia Erneman’s Life. Fanny and the Mystery in the Grieving Forest was shortlisted for the same prize and published in English by Book*hug Press in 2019. He is also a professor of creative writing. Christiansen lives just outside of Oslo, Norway.


Kari Dickson

KARI DICKSON is a literary translator. She translates from Norwegian, and her work includes literary fiction, children’s books, theatre, and nonfiction. In 2019, Book*hug Press published her translation of Rune Christiansen’s Fanny and the Mystery in the Grieving Forest, and, in 2021, her co-translation of Mona Høvring’s Because Venus Crossed an Alpine Violet on the Day that I Was Born. She is also an occasional tutor in Norwegian language, literature and translation at the University of Edinburgh, and has worked with the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) and the National Centre for Writing. Dickson lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.


The Loneliness in Lydia Erneman’s Life is gentle and sombre and beautiful. At once lyrical and acute, each short chapter offers a glimpse into the protagonist’s quiet life, almost like a meditation.” —Prairie Flower Reads

“A luminous example of a book which quietly lifts the reader, an artful, but unpretentious book, written with an almost page-turner ease.” —Aftenposten

“Christiansen has written a gorgeous novel about being alone.” —Politiken

“Christiansen’s story ultimately transcends language, culture, and countries by raising questions about community, human connection and what is it to live a worthy, good life.” —Carousel Magazine

“An outstanding, beautiful, wonderfully vivid and addictive novel.” —Berlingske Tidende, Denmark

“An enchanting book on loneliness and love, where practically every sentence can be savoured.” —Klassekampe

“Rune Christiansen has written a novel of rare beauty.” —De Standaard der Letteren


  • The Young Critics’ Award 2014, Short-listed
  • The P2 Listeners Novel Prize 2014, Short-listed
  • Brage Prize 2014, Winner
  • Norwegian Criticsu2019 Prize for Literature 2014, Short-listed
  • Excerpts & Samples ×
    There are no other resources for this book.

    Reader Reviews



    262 Pages
    8.00in * 5.25in * .55in


    June 06, 2023


    Book*hug Press



    Book Subjects:

    FICTION / Small Town & Rural

    Featured In:

    All Books