The Ballad of a Broken Nose is a wonderful novel that fortifies Arne Svingen’s position as one of Norway’s foremost writers for children and adolescents.
The main character’s name is Bart. He is 13 years old and lives with his mother in an apartment building that could use some restoration work. But Bart doesn’t think that adopting a negative attitude makes life any better. He attends boxing classes because his mother wants him to toughen up, and he has a secret hobby. The book also introduces us to Ada, who can’t keep a secret, Geir, whose knees are oddly bent, and a number of other persons who have or will have a place in Bart’s life.
The Ballad of a Broken Nose is about hitting – and not hitting. It’s also about singing without anyone hearing you. The book will make you laugh. It will make you feel uneasy. And it will make you laugh again. But most of all it touches upon the important days in life, days when everything seems to happen at once and nothing will ever be the same again.
[An] uplifting coming-of-age story by Norwegian writer Arne Svingen.
Bart's depth and the beauty he finds in his world are winning and moving. Lovely and profound.
With deftness and subtlety, Svingen shows a boy hanging onto optimism in the face of adversity and asserting his identity when he’s long relied on obscuring himself in the background.
Rooting for a genuinely good kid is universal, and readers will warm to Bart’s quirkiness even as they cheer his well-earned success.
This could be one of the best children's books of the year ... an unusually exciting and funny story about an unusually sad teenage life. The language and characters are highly realistic, and the book is packed with striking one-liners and singular events.
Svingen’s authentic and humorous writing creates a lightness which goes well with the seriousness of the plot …The Ballad of a Broken Nose is down to earth and honest … guaranteed reading pleasure.
Great story, beautifully told, top notch translation, an unique hero, funny cover, nice layout. Who could ask for more?