Cover of "Roughneck"

Published by Samlaget, 2019

An engaging novel about one of the most dramatic events of the 1980s in Norway
The year is 1980. The residential oil platform named Alexander L. Kielland has just capsized in the North Sea, and the family of oil worker Jonny are waiting back home for the phone to ring.

We follow the life of a teenage girl named Marita as she goes through falling in love, acts of youthful rebellion, and learn about her dream to be an oil engineer. All the while, she has a deep desire to find out what made the Kielland capsize. Is no-one going to be held accountable for 123 oil workers losing their lives on the job?

Stavanger Aftenblad’s reviewer wrote: “A powerful novel about life after the Kielland disaster. Seven years [in the book] the rig went down, some people still don’t have any answers and still feel the ripples of the disaster – as Atle Berge’s novel shows. It is also worth explaining how this rich novel is filled with multifaceted characters in a believable world, each with their own conflicts and dilemmas, their shyness and insecurities, their crippling weaknesses, their false courage and their social consciences. Throughout the book, Atle Berge depicts realistic, everyday interactions and conflicts between human beings that turn Roughnecks into a thinly veiled discussion about themes like love and gender roles, as well as attitudes towards information, language, speech and power.”
Read the full review here (PDF 66 Kb).


The novel was shortlisted to the European Union Literature Prize for 2019. In 2020 “Roughneck” won the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Union’s Prize that was given for the first time.

Translation rights sold to Bulgaria, Serbia.

Atle Berge. Photo: Emil Weatherhead Breistein
Atle Berge. Photo: Emil Weatherhead Breistein

Atle Berge (b. 1986) works as a journalist and author. He has written a long line of novels for both children and adults.