Ask a Bookseller: Read this 'totally gripping' novel set in Nazi-occupied Norway

A book cover of "White Shadow" by Roy Jacobsen
"White Shadow" by Roy Jacobsen.
Courtesy of Biblioasis

This week’s Ask a Bookseller pick is a historical novel set during World War II in Nazi-occupied Norway. The novel is “White Shadow” by Roy Jacobsen, translated from Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw and recommended by Lesley Rains of City of Asylum Bookstore in Pittsburgh. 

Ingrid lives alone on an island in Norway, and the story follows the consequences of her decision to shelter a wounded soldier who washes up on her shore following a shipwreck. She doesn’t know which country he’s from when she finds and begins to care for him. The mystery of his identity unfolds during the novel, as do its consequences: Ingrid is taken from her beloved island and must struggle to journey back home. 

Jacobsen’s spare and unsentimental prose tells a story that’s dramatic without being melodramatic, says Rains. “It’s atmospheric and totally gripping. It’s a real page-turner … about love and what we endure, and how we make a home.” 

“White Shadow” is the second novel in Jacobsen’s Ingrid trilogy, although Rains says you don’t have to have read the first book (“The Unseen”) to engage with this one.

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