Posts with the category ‘Norwegian History’


CHANNELING IBSEN

The very first word of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, the play my book is built upon, is “hide.” Nora Helmer, the heroine, is talking about hiding the Christmas tree from the children. But that one word opens a door to how she prevaricates, shades the truth and masquerades as a silly, incompetent wife. Indeed, as the play unspools, it’s clear that all the main characters are hiding things from each other. This gap between appearance and what is actually true grows with each act, and finally splits the Helmer’s marriage apart. The entire disaster starts with that single command,… 


Solvi’s Story: The Shadow of WWI

My novel Searching for Nora has two story lines: one about what happens to Nora Helmer, the character from Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, and the other about a young university student in Norway right after the end of World War I. Nora’s story is set mostly in the 1880s, but Solvi’s story begins in 1918, nearly 40 years later. I did this for several reasons. I have long been fascinated by the generation of women who came of age during the Great War, a generation marked by an explosion of opportunity for women in nearly every part of life…. 


What Happens to Nora Helmer?

  When I went to Norway to research my novel Searching for Nora – a sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s famous play A Doll’s House – I was curious to know what Norwegians thought of Nora Helmer. Nora, the character at the center of Ibsen’s drama, is a powerful but contradictory woman. She’s at turns silly, conniving, loving, manipulative, charming and desperate. She’s trying to avert a disaster but events slip from her control and, as the curtain falls, she walks out on her husband and family with a slam of the door. It’s one of the most famous moments in… 


Creating the “Nora’s Journey” Photo Essay

While I was writing Searching for Nora, I often ran the story through my head like a movie, tinkering with scenes and enjoying the extended dream of the novel. When my husband and I talked about the book, he liked to imagine which actress would play Nora in the movie version, or where it might be shot. The entire time I worked on the book, Nora’s and Solvi’s worlds lived in my head, images at every turn. But when you write, you have to rely on words to convey the rich texture of the world you see in your mind’s… 


Why Write About Nora Helmer?

Photo of the door of an historic apartment in Oslo, like the one Nora Helmer slammed at the end of Ibsen play A Doll's House.

I wrote Searching for Nora because I couldn’t stop wondering what Nora Helmer – heroine of Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House – might have done after slamming the door on her family and bourgeois life. Would she set up house-keeping in a garret and send for her children? Flee to Denmark to become a bohemian and pose for painters? Or walk to the harbor and buy a ticket to America?


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