On a warm summer 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, seven 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? This is the question that begins Linn Ullmann's transfixing tale of a jealous wife, compliant mistress, treasured friend, angelic nurse, unloved daughter, devoted mother, and - finally - a woman possessed of a secret now forever 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 slowly yet systematically unravelling. And with Stella herself bearing witness from a place beyond death, we come to understand how precarious her life really 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.
Born in 1966, Linn Ullmann is a graduate of New York University, where she studied English literature and began work on a Ph.D. She returned to Oslo in 1990 to pursue a career in journalism. She had established herslef as a prominent literary critic when her first novel, Before You Sleep, was published in 1998 and became a critically acclaimed bestseller throughout Europe. She writes a column for Norway's leading morning newspaper and lives in Oslo with her husband, son, two stepchildren, and a dog.