Tales of Protection by Erik Fosnes Hansen

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Four enthralling tales about chance, by the author of Psalm at Journey's End

Tales of Protection is a novel about people in different places in different epochs -- contemporary Norway, nineteenth-century Sweden, and Renaissance Italy -- whose stories are bound together by the author's original and searching inquiry into why things happen the way they do.

As the book opens, a dead man lies in his coffin reflecting on the past. Bolt was an eccentric scientist who devoted his old age to a vast research undertaking -- collecting random incidents from the history of the species and finding the underlying pattern that connects them. This kind of hindsight, after all, must be a kind of heaven -- or a kind of hell.

His reveries lead him to tell two other tales -- the tale of a doomed lighthouse keeper on a Swedish island and the tale of rivalry among Renaissance artists -- and finally to tell a startling tale from his own early manhood. All of the tales, in his exquisitely suspenseful narration, demonstrate his theory of "seriality," which is the opposite of causality.

Erik Fosnes Hansen's Psalm at Journey's End was acclaimed as one of the most original works yet about the sinking of the Titanic. In Norway, Tales of Protection has been called a "Blixenesque" masterpiece; it is a major new work of world literature, and a great leap forward for this gifted young writer.


About Erik Fosnes Hansen

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Erik Fosnes Hansen, born in 1965, is the author of Psalm at Journey's End, which was a number-one bestseller in his native Norway. He lives in Oslo with his family.
Published July 8, 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 480 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, History, Travel. Fiction

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Of the succeeding tales, which mirror and elucidate Bolt’s own questing nature and his symbiotic relationship with his deferential manservant Andersen, one “travels” to an island off the Swedish coast, in 1898, and the tense intimacy between a lighthouse keeper’s family and a “half-mute” assistan...

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Publishers Weekly

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The theory that there is a law of series that binds together seemingly random events (espoused by real-life scientist Paul Kammerer, whose biography was written by Arthur Koestler) is at the heart

Jun 03 2002 | Read Full Review of Tales of Protection

Publishers Weekly

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The other story takes place in Rome in 1497, when a rich, exiled Florentine merchant, Lorenzo del Vetro, afflicted with a rare skin disease, is cured by an old, ill-painted picture of the Virgin and sends his lackey, Fiorello, to Padua to track down the painter's assistant.

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