On a warm summer’s night in Oslo, Martin draws Stella into one of the risky games that have defined their ten years together: a balancing act on the edge of their rooftop, nine storeys up. Amid the shouts of horrified onlookers, Stella stumbles, falling for a moment into Martin’s arms before plummeting to her death. Did he try to save her?
Ullmann is a fine writer, complex, intelligent and scrupulous. The drama of private life, and of the here and now, continues to require voices such as hers.
— Rachel Cusk, Daily Telegraph
So begins Linn Ullmann’s transfixing tale of Stella—jealous wife, forbearing lover, angelic nurse, unloved daughter, devoted mother, and finally, a woman possessed of a secret now for-ever lost to the living. As Stella’s life unfolds in the recollections of those she has left behind, we observe the fabric of many lives unraveling. And as Stella herself bears witness from a place beyond death, we come to understand how precarious her life was behind its facade of loveliness and order.
With a quiet power, Stella Descending gives us the backlit dailiness—and the dark metaphysical underworld—of life in a fabled metropolis. And in brilliantly evoking the loneliness that haunts all our intimacies, it becomes a fable of life everywhere.