Jan Roar Leikvoll: THE SONGBIRD

Cover of "The Songbird"

Published by Samlaget, 2013

A strong tale of things dark and dangerous; both disturbing and beautiful
Since the day he was born, Jakoba has lived his life as a female. He has grown up with his mother and aunts in a town inhabited solely by women. He now finds himself on the cusp of adulthood and is developing feelings for a girl. Although it’s becoming increasingly difficult to hide his secret, he possesses a talent that may prove his salvation: Nobody sings as beautifully as Jakoba. Meanwhile, deep in the forest, on the far side of the valley, the menacing roar of the male of the species has been heard. Songbird looks at the loneliness that can arise when the safe, secure world you knew and thought would last forever, turns out to be a difficult and dangerous place.

Once again, Leikvoll brings to life a universe where different rules and circumstances prevail. The Songbird depicts a harsh, brutal existence but is written in sensitive, considered language. Translation rights sold to Denmark. The novel was dramatized and made great impact at Det Norske Teatret in 2016.

Jan Roar Leikvoll was awarded the Stig Sæterbakken Memorial Prize for 2013. Read the jury’s statement here.

Jan Roar Leikvoll (1974 – 2014) made his debut with Eit vintereventyr (A Winter Story) in 2008, followed by Fiolinane (The Violins), 2010 and Bovara (The Bovara Monastery), 2012. The novel Forkynnaren (The Preacher) was published posthumously in 2015, like the novel Heimat (Back Home) in 2019. Leikvoll’s works have received critical acclaim, and he has been praised as one of the most striking and original voices in Norwegian literature. Leikvoll died suddenly 31 July 2014. The daily newspaper Vårt Land wrote: “He succeeded in giving us great art.”