The Story of Edvard Munch, By Ketil Bjornstad: Book review

 

Musician and author Ketil Bjornstad mines the writings of Munch and his friends (and foes) for this biographical novel, which captures the Norwegian painter's life and work in a torrent of syncopated scenes.

The method, the mood, match Munch's art. From his breakdown in 1908, "destroyed by alcohol, fear and rage", it moves back and forward through pivotal events, rendered with all the livid, expressionistic fervour of Munch's great "Frieze of Life".

Bjornstad packs the narrative with primary sources, quoted liberally: the documents enrich and extend the drama.

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