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Magic trick with two Rubiks-cubes
From newspaper reviews
Publishers Weekly (Starred review):
«Hveberg's rich, philosophical debut runs on ruminations about love, loss, and loneliness with two love stories, each involving a math professor and a brilliant student... Hveberg gives proof to a provocative equation for elegant fiction.»
...Hveberg's cerebral narrative, which treats knotty subjects – the Mandelbrot set, the Sierpinski gasket, the snake lemma, and the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator – in a playful way, often using clever puns («mi-Rakel»), puzzles and anagrams.
«A novel of interior spaces that plumbs the depths of loneliness in order to find within it the origins of love.»
For Hveberg, the imbalance between Rakel's richly evoked interior life and the lack of agency she wields in her experiences provides an opportunity to delve into the character's vibrant intellect without diluting the reader's sense of Rakel as a character whose joys and sorrows reflect our own.
New York Journal of Books:
«Klara Hveberg has written a stunning debut novel about unrequited love, longing, obsession, betrayal, and more. Complex and alluring, it is framed by the author's – and the protagonist's – expertise in mathematics, as well as by music and literature.»
Aided by ruminations about numbers, music, and literature [the protagonist] comes to accept her fate in ways and words that make us want to embrace her as if she were a child who understands the world far beyond her years... She breaks [readers' hearts] by carrying on alone, exploring life's meaning in solitude and with a resignation as beautiful as a sonata or a great work of literature.
Adresseavisen (Vigdis Moe Skarsten): 6 out of 6 stars (paywall)
«Brilliant debut. A delightful history about the many aspects of love, and of the search for beauty in life.»
The novel has most of what makes a novel worth reading: An understanding for the contradictory in human life, filled with sensuality and intelligent reflections, wistful and tender with a humoristic undertone accentuating the seriousness of a riveting storyline. (...) In the space between reality and dream, the novel is full of fascinating ambiguities and elegant transitions. Full of suggestions and surprising twists that create curiosity and hold the reader captive.
Romsdals Budstikke (Øystein Hauge): 6 out of 6 stars (paywall, but also available here)
«Klara Hveberg has written a truly wonderful love story. A story composed mainly in minor keys, but with a constant humoristic undercurrent that appears both refined and organic.»
The book is also packed with well-tuned references to music, literature, mathematics, and philosophy. An ingeniously constructed and entertaining novel about fragile love where the melancholy is never far away.
VG (Gabriel Moro): 5 out of 6 stars
«Klara Hveberg has written a beautiful love sonata in D minor. I feel a little less lonely with this book on my nightstand.»
A remarkable novel about love, classical music, and mathematics. The author writes with great intensity and filmatic qualities. She even manages to infect the reader with her own enthusiasm for mathematical problems and philosophical thought experiments. (…) I was both intrigued and found myself falling in love with Rakel.
Dagsavisen (Gerd Elin Stava Sandve) (paywall)
«Mathemagical debut. This incredibly strong novel makes music out of mathematics and turns life into poetry. Bravo!»
Lean your loneliness slowly against mine is a story about longing. But also about love. About distance and closeness. Patience. What it means to be the other woman. (…) It can be read as a novel about origins, about parents and children, about how one is molded by what one learns at home. About being “different”, and about how narrow social space is for many people. It is a classical student novel about finding one’s real home at the university. It dissects the mentor and the teacher roles, and the often complex relationship between the parties. It takes up shame, love, loneliness, even existence itself. In addition, the novel gives insight into the interesting life and times of Sofia Kovalevskaya (…) There is a lot of mathematics, explained in an admirably simple and exciting way. And if one wants to see connections to the Bible, there are possibilities.
Vårt Land (Anne Schäffer):
«A mature debut where the author juggles mathematics, art and passion in a love story full of both humor and deep despair... The result is one of the most complex and interesting protagonists I have encountered in a quite extraordinary debut novel.»
She uses her knowledge in such a playful way that even a reader with a pronounced fear of numbers and with no understanding of half the formulas, can enjoy the beauty of geometric formations and get a feeling for how mathematics can help structure the world. (...) Lean your loneliness slowly against mine is a book about loneliness, and a novel about unhappy love told with humor and generosity. It is also a story about how art and mathematics can release something inside a human being. (...) Hveberg fills in layers of music, literature, and mathematics. In this way she draws up an outline of Rakel, colors her, and shades her with humor.
From reader reviews
Tine Sundal's book blog: 6 out of 6 stars
«The novel is recommended for everyone, but those who are fond of music, literature and mathematics will be particularly delighted by this little gem of a book. I give it top score: 6 stars out of 6»
This is a beautiful novel, and a story with several layers. The characters are superbly built, and the plot is driven by the love story and Rakel's fight against feelings of shame and guilt.
Ingun Kleppan's (Kleppanrova) book blog: 6 out of 6 stars
«This is a book you must read, it is incredibly playful, funny, sad and humoristic.»
A wonderfully exiting book. RECOMMENDED FOR EVERYONE!
Astrid Terese Skjeggerud's book blog:
«This book is full of beautiful sentences and nice ways of expressing things.»
The book is written in a beautiful language. I have reread several paragraphs and sentences because I found them so beautiful. It is not as sad as it may sound, but at the same time it is very sad. (...) I had a late evening yesterday, because I could simply not put down the book. Recommended.
Randi Landmark's book blog:
«This is an extraordinarily well written, riveting, and multifaceted book that is a pleasure to read. This is one of the best books I have read from 2019.»
Anniken Falch Hillestad on Radio Nova: Book recommendation:
«I have recently had a truly great reading experience! Lean your loneliness slowly against mine is Klara Hveberg's debut novel, and it is a sad, funny and beautiful story. (...) Rakel is a progatonist it is impossible not to love, and with Hveberg's simple, but rich writing style, this story will tug at your heartstrings.»
Oliver Møystad: NORLAS book recommendation for Valentine:
«Is it possible to write an original novel about a well-trodden subject such as the relationship between a young female student and her lecturer? Yes, Klara Hveberg has done it! Lean your loneliness slowly against mine is a little novel about mathematics, music and meeting one's first great love.»
Mathematics, poetry, and classical music. Love and betrayal. What a novel!! I was entertained, touched, and terribly irritated. Loved it! This is Klara Hveberg’s first novel and I hope there are more to come.
This is a totally fantastic debut! Having read the good reviews in all the country’s newspapers, I delved into the book. And I am glad I did as I was immediately pulled into it; I got fond of Rakel; and it was hard to let her go when the book was finished. I hope there will be more books by Klara Hveberg, because with her books on the market one feels a tiny bit less lonely.
Me and my lunch are far from lonely in this company. A beautiful debut novel about love, math, literature, and loneliness – life itself. Read, read, read!
Lean your loneliness slowly against mine definitely lived up to my expectations. The story of a young student who starts an affair with her professor is perhaps not very original, but the characteristic protagonist Rakel triggered my curiosity from the first page. And there is something about books that dare to dig deep into shame that makes me want to read more and more and more, even when my body winces in discomfort.
Lean your loneliness slowly against mine is full of fine references to other authors (already in the title to Stein Mehren). Of language games and poetry, music, riddles, and mathematics. (...) And it is a tender story of a very complex and intelligent young woman, Rakel, who compares her life with that of the first woman to become a professor of mathematics, Sofia Kovalevskaya. I really liked it – a very good debut novel by Klara Hveberg.
What is most absorbing with this book is Rakel herself; she has a distinctive personality which at the same time is both desperate and lonely and vulnerable and tough and funny. A winner for those who like contemporary novels with women at the center.
I think Klara Hveberg has written a fabulously fine novel; Lean your loneliness slowly against mine is a book I will both recommend and give as a gift. (...) This novel has music, poetry, psychology, and history, in addition to some fine writing about mathematics. (…) Run and borrow or run and buy :)
I have fallen completely for this little gem of a book. Perhaps it is the loneliness. The complex love story, the search for hope. Perhaps it is these three themes together in combination with the poetic language. And all this despite the, for me, unfamiliar references to mathematics plus Rakel’s love for classical music that makes one hear of both Mozart, Bach, etc. Perhaps it is because I can recognize something of myself in Rakel. Loneliness. Love. Expecting too much of love. And the search for hope.
Lean your loneliness slowly against mine is the kind of book that grows on you after reading, when you have had time to process all the impressions the book leaves you with. I was surprised by how positive an imprint it left behind after I had finished reading. (…) I really enjoyed the slow rhythm of the story and the sensual impression of the words.
Just the title. It is lovely. And so is the rest of the book. Really fine and lovely. About Rakel and her life. (…) Somehow I was reminded of the beautiful writings by her compatriot Per Petterson.