Author Carl Frode Tiller joins us to discuss the first two books in his Encircling Trilogy. A winner of the European Prize for Literature, the English PEN Award, and the Hunger Prize, the first novel, Encircling, introduces us to David: who, after losing his memory, is encouraged by his psychologist to reach out to friends and family to share their memories with him. As letters arrive from his closest friend Jon, his former girlfriend Silje, and his estranged stepfather Arvid, three radically different images of a man appear. Underscoring each of those are the very different narratives of those who remember David: Jon, a talented but troubled artist; Silje, who is unhappily married; and Arvid, a lonely vicar who is struggling with cancer. As David remains increasingly enigmatic, these unreliable narrators present a fractured portrait of grief and introspection, and the complexities of an unknowable self.

The second book in the series, Encircling: Origins continues the story of David through three new characters, a group of close friends from his childhood on the backwater island of Otterøya. Ole, a farmer struggling to right his floundering marriage, recalls days in the woods when an act of pretending went very wrong. Tom Roger, a rough-edged outsider slipping into domestic violence, shares a cruder side of David in memories of selling stolen motorcycles and rumors about David’s parentage. And Paula, a former midwife now consigned to a nursing home, has the most explosive secret of all—one that threatens to undo everything we may have thought about the central figure.

“A wholly satisfying story about how unreliable narrators tell tales not just about events, but about our core emotions. A poised and effective Rashomon-styl exploration of multiple psyches.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Carl Frode Tiller is the author of six novels—three forming the Encircling trilogy—and four plays; all of them are written in the distinctive language of Nynorsk (“new Norwegian”). One of the most acclaimed Scandinavian authors of his generation, Tiller has received multiple prizes, including the EU Prize for Literature and the Nordic Critics Prize, and his Encircling trilogy has been twice nominated for the Nordic Council’s prize.


Tiller was born in 1970 in Namsos, Norway. He now lives in Trondheim with his wife and three daughters. He was, until recently, a member of the rock band Kong Ler.



Photo by Therese Alice Sanne; Book Jacket Courtesy of Graywolf Press

THU—MAY 3—7 PM, free