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About the book
  • Published: 15 June 2017
  • ISBN: 9781910701805
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $29.99

Only Human


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'One of the very best authors of our generation' Karl Ove Knausgaard

Bea Britt lives alone in her grandmother’s house in west Oslo. Early one morning, she wakes to find a police hunt outside her window and drama unfolding on her TV. Volunteers are scouring the local woods looking for Emilie, a missing schoolgirl.

Emilie's rucksack is found in Bea Britt's garden. But as her spiralling doubts and suspicions take over, is she a suspect, a witness or a potential second victim?

The mystery of Emilie’s disappearance and Bea Britt’s story are intricately bound to the lives of two other women: Bea Britt’s grandmother Cecilie, a troubled 1930s housewife whose marriage has broken down, and university student Beate, who is desperate for love but plagued by uncertainty.

Only Human is a rich, urgent novel about family, enduring oneself and others, and what is needed when life wears thin. It lays bare the hopes, dreams, fears and failures of three infinitely human characters, and is delicately revealing of the choices that shape a human life and our quest for companionship and love.

  • Pub date: 15 June 2017
  • ISBN: 9781910701805
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $29.99

About the Author

Kristine Naess

Kristine Naess is a writer, editor and literary critic. She is widely regarded as one of the best Scandinavian writers working today, and is celebrated for her distinct, personal voice. Only Human was nominated for the 2015 Nordic Council Literature Prize, and is her debut in English.


Praise for Only Human

“Few are able to take language closer to life than Kristine Næss, she is one of the very best authors of our generation”

Karl Ove Knausgaard

“Disciplined, fraughtly tense… It is a dark, claustrophobic examination of three women in varying states of despairing anxiety… This is a dense work of uncomfortable honesty”

David Mills, Sunday Times

“Only Human combines a crime mystery from the media with original portraits of women in three generations ... three highly individual and yet interconnected stories, which together gives us a surprisingly multidimensional view at the lives we live and how we emerge as people for one another ”

jury of The Nordic Council's Literary Award


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