Arne Svingen - participant of Tbilisi 4th International Festival of Literature.
Writer Arne Svingen was born in Oslo in 1967. He is one of Norway’s foremost writers for children and young adults. His production spans from easy reads for children, to novels for children and young adults.
He has written several novels for adults, radio plays for NRK (The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) and graphic novels. A large number of Arne Svingens’s books have been sold in many countries internationally, and he has been translated into seventeen languages. He was awarded the Brage Prize for his novel Black Ivory in 2005. His biggest international success has been "The Ballad of a Broken Nose" (2012) translated into fourteen languages.
Ballad of a Broken Nose
It doesn’t matter. These things happen.
I’m lying on the floor. A few seconds ago, I was standing on my feet. The world was on an even keel and I actually felt things were going better than they had been for a long time. Some punches always come as a shock.
The room is slopping round the edges and I feel slightly seasick.
‘Are you alright?’
When I nod, it feels like I’m sitting in a washing machine.
‘Can you get up?’
Of course I can get up. Just not right now. All I want to do is lie here. A little bit longer.
‘I didn’t mean to.’
Of course he didn’t mean to hit so hard. Christian flickers in front of my eyes. As if he was on a badly-tuned TV.
I like Christian. I like everyone at the gym. Wouldn’t surprise me if they liked me too.
‘Just give him a bit of time.’
It’s the coach talking. The one who says it’s all about believing you can move mountains. That I can be as good as I want to be. And I believe him when he says it. Even though I don’t necessarily believe it as much in the evening. Or the next morning. Or at school. And perhaps especially not when I’m lying here and feeling sick.
The coach and Christian help me up. I’m standing on my own two feet again.
‘Take a break, why don’t you,’ the coach says.
I don’t dare to nod. Just head off towards a bench and sit there until the world has stopped tumbling and spinning and shaking.
‘Boxing’s not about how many times you’re knocked down, but how many times you get up again,’ the coach tells us, as he takes off my headguard and gives me an icepack.
‘I’m sure,’ I reply. ‘But I think I’ll stop for now, all the same.’
‘See you on Wednesday, then?’
Christian pats me on the shoulder. If it wasn’t that he lived on the other side of town, we’d probably hang out together after school.
On my way home I feel the pain around my eye. But pain passes and I can still see. I put on my headphones, turn up the music and the next moment everything is forgotten.
I like quite a lot of weird things, really. Like pancakes and bacon. A glass of ice cold milk in the middle of the night. A shooting star in the sky that isn’t a plane or a UFO. Or swimming on a warm summer’s day when everyone else has gone home.
And I like it when Mum whispers something nice and her lips tickle my ear. I think she used to do it more before.
But there’s something that beats it all. Something that makes me warm inside. A bit like someone’s turned on an oven full blast in my belly.
And that’s singing. Not the sort that blares out of the radio and iPods of people in my class. I like the kind of voice that makes glass shatter and fills your ears to bursting. Sometimes I forget myself and sing at full volume down the street. Which is a bit embarrassing. And a bit cool.