Here’s what the jury said about the book:
“The author of the winning book stands out as a writer with exceptional breadth of vision, who with impressively detailed knowledge and imaginative prowess transports us to another time, landscape and society. But this dramatic story can also be read as an expression of thoughts and feelings about the forces currently at work in our own time.
In particular, the book stands out for its vivid and poetic depictions of scenes from the natural world unlike anything most of us will ever have the chance to see with our own eyes. We encounter, for example, a swimming polar bear being pursued by a creature from the depths on his desperate journey towards new coasts and new prey. This makes one think of how the polar bear is losing its source of sustenance due to the melting of the polar ice – or one can see the similarities between this great predator and the power-seeking individuals also portrayed in the novel. But the image of the polar bear amidst the waves and the enormous blind shark that rises from the dark below him is mostly fascinating due to the sheer imaginative power evident in the image itself.
We are, of course, on Greenland, and the year is 1293; the linguistic style indicates that the book is set in a distant past with other modes of thought. But the story of how the young, strong and ambitious Arnar Vilhjalmsson encounters both love and ascendancy within a strict culture of honour says something about the fundamental conditions of human existence: not only about the forces of nature we would do well to respect, but also about the forces that can threaten communities from within.
This is a bleak but visionary work – a gripping story with an aesthetic unique in contemporary literature. The winner of the Brageprisen 2018 in the category of adult fiction is When the Land Darkens. Congratulations Tore Kvæven!"