With the Hilke Thorhus books, Kim Småge created a predecessor to what would, both nationally and internationally, explode as an independent genre in the 1980s and 90s: crime novels with female main characters. She truly made a name for herself in the traditionally male-dominated field of Norwegian crime literature. Kim Småge and the women who followed in her footsteps have shown that the woman’s point of view can both enrich and rejuvenate crime intrigue.Since her debut in 1983, Elin Brodin has been a prolific prose writer, writing not only novels but also books for children and young adults, as well as debate books. Her socially critical involvement spans from criticism of conditions for children and young people, through treatment of drug addiction and disease. Thematically, she focuses on the problem of evil in a culture without norms and in which violence and destruction of nature prevail. Her project is to crush idealism.The works of Mari Osmundsen (pseudonym for Anne Kristine Halling) in many ways resemble those of Elin Brodin. As politically conscious cultural critics, they are both concerned with issues such as human suffering and guilt in our modern, alienating society, and they are both solidly planted in the literary tradition of social realism. But whereas Elin Brodin writes about disasters, Mari Osmundsen appears to be more concerned with communicating a belief that even the most insignificant person can mobilise an unfathomable strength and love.
Social criticism and new consciousness in Norwegian women’s literature of the 1970s.
In 1922 the Norwegian writer Sara Cecilie Margareta Gjörwel Fabricius published her first short story – an ‘artist story’ from Paris – under the pseudonym “Cora Sandel”. Although she lived in Sweden for the rest of her life, she continued to write in Norwegian.Her female and male characters are more likely to be complete contrasts than loving couples. The tension in her texts is found in the force-field between woman and man. Time and again, Cora Sandel depicts the man as seen through the woman’s eyes. Cora Sandel had a sense for transgressing genre. A number of her prose works have the vigour of drama while, at the same time, the poetic idiom is inherent in the detail, in the use of rhythm and language parallels, and in the imagery. The papers she left behind include poems and drafts of plays.Cora Sandel has been called writer of ‘the unsaid’. The underlying irony and the deeper truths between the lines – together with her ability to create low-key but also defiantly optimistic women – make her texts so good.