Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Brightly Shining

by Ingvild Rishoi Translated from Norwegian by Caroline Waight

Beautifully told with humor and tenderness, a Norwegian Christmas tale of sisterhood, financial hardship, and far-off dreams, acclaimed by reviewers and beloved by readers across Europe, where it has been a major bestseller

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 192
  • Publication Date November 19, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6349-3
  • Dimensions 5" x 7.25"
  • US List Price $20.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date November 19, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6350-9
  • US List Price $20.00

Christmas is just around the corner, and Ronja and Melissa’s dreamer of a father is out of work again. When ten-year-old Ronja hears about a job at a Christmas tree stand near where the family lives in central Oslo, she thinks it might be the stroke of luck they all need. Soon, the fridge fills with food, and their father returns home with money in his pocket and a smile on his face. But one evening he disappears into the night under the pretense of buying Christmas gifts—and the daughters know he has gone to his favorite local pub, Stargate, and they come to terms with the fact that he may lose his wonderful new job.

Melissa decides to take his place at the Christmas tree stand, working before and after school in the December afternoon dark, and brings along Ronja, who quickly charms all the middle-class customers. On rare breaks the sisters dream of a brighter place of kindness and plenty, and find help from some of those around them—but both understand that their family structure is a precarious one, and that they are going to need luck and strength to transcend their circumstances.

Skillfully told, evoking the delight, misunderstandings, and innocence of a child’s voice, Brightly Shining is small in stature but with an outsize impact on the reader, and has all the markings of a magical modern classic.

Praise for Brightly Shining:

“There is real magic in this charming novel about care, community, and the kindness of strangers. It is a deeply affecting story, beautifully told, that is sure to touch the hearts of many readers.”—Douglas Stuart, Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie Bain and Young Mungo

“Deceptively simple, deceptively innocent, told from the perspective of a bright-eyed, too-wise child, Brightly Shining has the power of a classic. You will read it in a single sitting, then carry it in your heart.”—Claire Messud, author of This Strange Eventful History

Brightly Shining feels fresh as spruce needles and ancient as bedrock. The clear and hopeful voice of Ronja slips easily into your heart and takes up residence like a breathless memory, like a song of unbearable beauty. I want to read more Ingvild Rishøi, and the sooner the better.”—Leif Enger, author of I Cheerfully Refuse

“Ingvild Rishøi creates distinct yet multifaceted characters. The protagonist Ronja is truly precious but it’s not only her that we are taken by as the story unfolds . . . A vivid story inducing laughter and tears, indignation and class-consciousness and, not least, a major dose of Christmas spirit.”—Adresseavisen (Norway) 

“The portrayal of two sisters’ attempts to survive Christmas is masterful, inescapable and deeply moving.”—Aftonbladet (Sweden) 

“Probably going to stay with me for the rest of my life . . . A magnificently beautiful story, at the intersection between Astrid Lindgren and H.C. Andersen . . . In the same league as the absolute best that has been written in Nordic literature.” —FriFagbevegelse (Norway)

“A little miracle of literature.”—Les Echos (France)

Ingvild Rishøi performs an extraordinary balancing act . . . Through ten-year-old Ronja’s eyes, the author portrays a tragic upbringing—but with the help of Ronja’s lively imagination she succeeds in turning the novel into a magical Christmas story.”—Dagbladet (Norway) 

“Rishøi doesn’t lose control for even a second. Her reins are tight, the words are exactly where they ought to be . . . Rishøi makes her vulnerable and tender Christmas story grow into the reader and take place there.”—Dagens Nyheter (Sweden)

“A poetic, magical Christmas tale that has the potential of becoming a modern classic.”—Bücher Magazin (Germany)

“With its finetuned and striking meditation of the sparkling Christmas dream—and for many icy reality—[it has] all the makings of a modern classic in its genre. Rishøi makes Ronja and Melissa timeless heroes in their search for a Christmas where the adult world’s ruthlessness, chaos, and short-lived sparks of benevolence no longer set the limits.”—Expressen (Sweden)

“[Ingvild Rishøi] has an unmistakable talent for conveying a lot with very few words. Meanings and feelings flow quietly between the lines and involves the reader to interpret the text for themselves . . . This story settles well and thoroughly in its reader and stays there. In any case, I’m left with a lump in my throat and a moved heart.”—Litteratursiden (Denmark)

“Simply the most heartbreaking Christmas story . . . Rishøi’s social realistic style is ingenious. With very few words, very few thin strokes and ultra-short dialogues, she succeeds in portraying Ronja’s inner emotions.”—Jyllands-Posten (Denmark)