The Looking-Glass Sisters

by Gøhril Gabrielsen


A tragic love story about two sisters who cannot live with or without each other.

Far out on the plains of northern Norway stands a house. It belongs to two middle-aged sisters. They seldom venture out and nobody visits. The younger needs nursing and the older keeps house. Then, one day, a man arrives…

This is a tragedy about a woman who yearns for love but ends up in a painfully destructive conflict with her sister. It is also a story about loneliness – both geographical and psychological. Facing the prospect of a life without love, we fall back into isolating delusions at exactly the moment when we need to connect.

Translated from the Norwegian by John Irons.

192pp, paperback with flaps, £12.00
ISBN 978-1-908670-24-3
Publication date: 25 September 2015

Press & Reviews

'The sisters' violent intimacy has its own power, but the real strength of this book lies in the way so much is withheld.' - Claire Allfree, Daily Mail

'Excellently translated by John Irons, Gabrielsen’s novel disturbs and challenges. Once we have begun, though, it is near impossible to pull away.' - Malcolm Forbes, The National

'A work of intelligence, empathy, intensity and exceptional beauty and originality.' - Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post

'This is a brilliant, twisted and totally original story- the ending especially, I thought was stunning.' - The Little Ripon Bookshop

'I think that The Looking-Glass Sisters may be my favourite Peirene.' - Lizzy's Literary Life

About The Book


Gøhril Gabrielsen, born in 1961, grew up in Finnmark, the northernmost county in Norway, and currently lives in Oslo. She won Aschehoug’s First Book Award for her 2006 novel Unevnelige hendelser (Unspeakable Events), and was the recipient of the 2010 Tanum Scholarship for Women. Since the publication of her debut novel she has brought out further books to great acclaim in her native Norway, including Svimlende muligheter, ingen frykt (The Looking-Glass Sisters) and Skadedyr (Vermin).


John Irons studied modern & medieval languages at Cambridge before doing research within the field of poetic imagery. Since the mid 1980s he has translated poetry, fiction and non-fiction from the Scandinavian languages and was awarded the NORLA translation prize for non-fiction in 2007.