When Jan Roar Leikvoll died in 2014, he left behind several manuscripts. One of these was The Preacher (Forkynnaren). Here we meet an old man called Hans who suddenly wakes up one day after a long spell of illness, convinced that he has a personal calling. Without knowing what lies ahead, he leaves his farm and rows his boat across the fjord, never to return. On his journey he takes on passengers who tell him about their longings and their life stories. The Preacher is a beautiful little narrative about loss, consolation and reconciliation.
Thematically the novel reflects the Bible through its focus on evanescence, on ancestral ways and the emphasis on the basic common experiences of human beings. However there are also parallels in its design. Like when the biblical text refers to the movement of the sun, and in Leikvoll’s version the sun revolves around the apple. The apple on the branch represents the globe in miniature: “… an apple does not turn around, but lets the sun revolve around it and fill it with warmth.”
Jan Roar Leikvoll (1974-2014) published four highly acclaimed novels. He made his debut in 2008 with A Winter Adventure (Eit vintereventyr), followed by The Violins (Fiolinane) (2010), Bovara (2012) and The Song Bird (Songfuglen) (2013). He quickly established himself as one of the most exciting young voices in contem-porary Norwegian literature.
In a memory article the daily newspaper Vårt Land wrote: “He succeeded in giving us great art. A heavy darkness cloaked his texts, but at the same time his force came from something greater than human. The combination of this elevated quality and the low, earthy, primal force in Leikvoll’s figures was incredibly fascinating.”