BookBrowse Reviews Before I Burn by Gaute Heivoll

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Before I Burn

By Gaute Heivoll

Before I Burn
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2014,
    336 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Bob Sauerbrey

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Based on the true account of Norway's most dramatic arson case, Before I Burn explores the arsonist and the young man haunted by the story.

"Who is it we see when we see ourselves?"

Gaute Heivoll asks this question of himself twice in Before I Burn – but is he really asking himself? Heivoll has produced a work that blurs the lines between memoir/autobiography, history, historical fiction, and purely imaginary fiction. He tells of an actual series of events that happened in 1978, in the very month he was born, using the memories and stories from his youth, interviews with those who were part of the events, and public documents. So this is a memoir about events in Heivoll's youth, his own growth, and his developing interest in writing about the pyromaniac that caused chaos in Finsland, Norway in 1978, right? Well, no. Gaute Heivoll insists that he has written a novel, although he does not include the novelist's usual disclaimer that any similarity to real persons is coincidental. However, the story is, at least in ...

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