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Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?: A Novel
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Published:
Seven Stories Press 2011
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Description
A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Title of 2011

In Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?, readers follow a man who wishes not to be followed, a man who, after a series of personal and professional disasters, finds himself lying on a rain-soaked road in the desolate, treeless Faroe Islands, population only a few thousand, a wad of bills in his pocket and no memory of how he had come to be there. From there, Brage Award-winning author and playwright Johan Harstad's debut novel—previously published to great success in eleven countries with its first English-language appearance in June 2011—tells the story of Mattias, a thirty-something gardener living in Stavanger, Norway, whose idol is Buzz Aldrin, second man on the moon: the man who was willing to stand in Neil Armstrong's shadow in order to work, diligently and humbly, for the success of the Apollo 11 mission. 

Through Harstad's "delectably light but nonetheless impactful prose . . . [t]he novel's finest moments wrap you up in communion with Mattias, as if you are spending a quiet afternoon with an old friend, chatting but mostly thinking" (Three Percent). Surrounded by a vivid and memorable cast of characters—aspiring pop musicians, Caribbean-obsessed psychologists, death-haunted photographers, girls who dream of anonymous men falling in love with them on bus trips, and even Buzz Aldrin himself—"Harstad combines formal play and linguistic ferocity with a searing emotional directness" (Dedi Felman, Words Without Borders) to bring Mattias to the realization that he cannot always blend into the background.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/07/2011
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781609803339
ASIN:
B004J4XG4K
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Johan Harstad. (2011). Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?: A Novel. Seven Stories Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Johan Harstad. 2011. Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?: A Novel. Seven Stories Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Johan Harstad, Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?: A Novel. Seven Stories Press, 2011.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Johan Harstad. Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?: A Novel. Seven Stories Press, 2011. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: JOHAN HARSTAD, winner of the 2008 Brage Award (previously won by Per Petterson), is a Norwegian author, playwright, graphic designer, drummer, and international sensation, with books published in eleven countries. His first novel, Buzz Aldrin, What Happened To You In All The Confusion?, was in 2009 made into a TV series starring The Wire’s Chad Coleman. Harstad lives in Oslo. DEBORAH DAWKIN is a literary translator based in London.
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title
Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?
fullDescription
A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Title of 2011

In Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?, readers follow a man who wishes not to be followed, a man who, after a series of personal and professional disasters, finds himself lying on a rain-soaked road in the desolate, treeless Faroe Islands, population only a few thousand, a wad of bills in his pocket and no memory of how he had come to be there. From there, Brage Award-winning author and playwright Johan Harstad's debut novel—previously published to great success in eleven countries with its first English-language appearance in June 2011—tells the story of Mattias, a thirty-something gardener living in Stavanger, Norway, whose idol is Buzz Aldrin, second man on the moon: the man who was willing to stand in Neil Armstrong's shadow in order to work, diligently and humbly, for the success of the Apollo 11 mission. 

Through Harstad's "delectably light but nonetheless impactful prose . . . [t]he novel's finest moments wrap you up in communion with Mattias, as if you are spending a quiet afternoon with an old friend, chatting but mostly thinking" (Three Percent). Surrounded by a vivid and memorable cast of characters—aspiring pop musicians, Caribbean-obsessed psychologists, death-haunted photographers, girls who dream of anonymous men falling in love with them on bus trips, and even Buzz Aldrin himself—"Harstad combines formal play and linguistic ferocity with a searing emotional directness" (Dedi Felman, Words Without Borders) to bring Mattias to the realization that he cannot always blend into the background.
reviews
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      • source: Bucherwelt review
      • content:

        • "Like Jonathan Safran Foer, Harstad combines formal play and linguistic ferocity with a searing emotional directness." --Dedi Felman, Words Without Borders• "The fact is that Johan Harstad has a wholly unique voice, simultaneously both concrete and soaring . . . to be able to write in this way, to conjure a situation and construct space and time around it with such linguistic fluency, cannot be learned. You are born with it. Harstad's fellow countryman Knut Hamsun, who was able to do the same, must be rejoicing in his heaven or wherever he might be." --Jakob Levinsen, Jyllands-Posten review• "It doesn't always have to be crime novels that come from Scandinavia. What 27 year-old Johan Harstad has written is quite plainly a work of genius. Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion? is as poetic as it is alive."

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from May 15, 2011

        Or, the long-awaited Great Faroese Novel: a splendid confusion about life, love and intrigues in the land of the midnight sun.

        Thirty-something Norwegian writer/musician/all-around pop icon Harstad has been making quite a splash—or, perhaps, splashdown—with his debut novel of 2005, which was published in 11 countries before making its way to these shores and is now a feature film in the making. The story is perhaps uneasily fitted to the silver screen, for it's big and sprawling, and most of what happens does so in the interiors of its characters. The protagonist is a lovelorn gardener named Mattias, a young man of simple pleasures and absolutely no ambition: "Here in the garden, and I wanted to be nowhere else in the world" apart—perhaps, from hanging out with his friend Jørn. Mattias finds backing for his contentment in his station in the fate of Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut, who, though in command of the Apollo mission, had all his thunder stolen by Neil Armstrong, whom history remembers as the first man on the Moon, even though Aldrin was "a more experienced pilot in just about every way." Given the choice, Jørn, naturally enough, would want to be Armstrong, and so the twain diverges—and presto, Mattias, coming into adulthood at just about the time Olof Palme is shot dead in Sweden and the age of Scandinavian innocence dissolves, finds himself in the remote Faeroe Islands. For a man who wants nothing more than for nothing to change, the new venue would seem to be ideal. But, of course, the world intrudes even on the Far North, and Mattias finds himself caught up in weird cabals and improbable plots about which he keeps suitably mum ("Didn't mention any catastrophes, bloodied hands or envelopes that appeared from nowhere filled with large amounts of money"). The austere landscape and people of the Faeroes become players in Harstad's poetic narrative, half-dramatic and half-comic, which takes on memorable turns with every page as Mattias realizes just how not in control of his destiny he really is.

        A modern saga of rocketships, ice floes and dreams of the Caribbean, and great fun to read.

        (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from June 15, 2011

        This courageous, deeply moving, and extraordinary novel is the first of acclaimed Norwegian writer Harstad's books to be translated into English. At the center of the story is a troubled young man named Mattias who, over the course of a few months, suffers a series of catastrophic losses and plunges into suicidal depression. Readers are taken on a harrowing journey into the world of mental illness and then on to tentative, precarious recovery as Mattias, surrounded by a small group of equally fragile friends, struggles to cobble together a new life for himself. This terrifying and inspiring book is about love and friendship, madness and sanity, and making our way in a difficult world. Harstad engages these themes masterfully. VERDICT An expertly crafted and emotionally complex novel--a work of considerable power and beauty. Essential for fans of literary fiction.--Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT

        Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Title of 2011

In Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?, readers follow a man who wishes not to be followed, a man who, after a series of personal and professional disasters, finds himself lying on a rain-soaked road in the desolate, treeless Faroe Islands, population only a few thousand, a wad of bills in his pocket and no memory of how he had come to be there. From there, Brage Award-winning author and playwright Johan Harstad's debut novel—previously published to great success in eleven countries with its first English-language appearance in June 2011—tells the story of Mattias, a thirty-something gardener living in Stavanger, Norway, whose idol is Buzz Aldrin, second man on the moon: the man who was willing to stand in Neil Armstrong's shadow in order to work, diligently and humbly, for the success of the Apollo 11 mission. 

Through Harstad's "delectably light but nonetheless impactful prose...
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