WW2 Norway seen from a child's point of view: review of the novel "Occupied" by Kurt-Blorstad

An elderly father and his grown up son travel to Norway, the land the father spent his youth. The old man gets quite emotional seeing all those familiar places and starts telling his story to his son.

It is mid 1930ties when an America born, from Norwegian parents, 7 years old boy, Trygve, takes a bus to travel from his paternal grandparent's house to that of his maternal grandmother's. His parents had emigrated to the US but his dad had lost his job due to the Depression. As a result of that they had taken their children back to Norway. But when the economy is picking up dad has gone back to the US and when he has saved enough money he will let the family come as well. As mom does not like Bestemor (grandmother) that much she rather waits at her own mother's house.

But saving money is a slow thing and when WW2 comes to Norway and the Germans invade moving to the US is impossible.

The book is very well written and keeps you glued to your Kindle. We follow Trygve from age 7 to 17 and the writer develops the story age consistent. For instance only we as grown-ups realise the poverty and later on teenager Trygve underestimates the danger at first.

The last chapter feels a bit hurried. I would have loved some grown up hindsight comments. Why did Norwegians who had wanted Norway liberated still emigrate? Was it that poor for them? Did he never miss the land and the friends of his youth? Was life in a big town not very different from life in a Norwegian village? 

I recommend the book for people who are interested in history and WW2, for people from Norway or of Norwegian decent or who want to visit Norway, for adults but also for teenagers 10-18 (no sex, no graphic violence).


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