The World's Best Unknown Books
02 04 2014

Absurd and Humorous Dystopia

Epp Axel Jensen

Translation Oliver Stallybrass

Axel Jensen’s Epp (1965) is a darkly dystopian book about a pensioner called Epp, who is living in a town on an unnamed planet in a big block surrounded by hundreds of similar blocks. The society is strictly controlled by the authorities.

Science-fiction and a dark description of a future society with obvious connection to our present day’s society

Cappelen Damm

Epp lives together with a carnivorous plant called Ili, and fills his days with cooking an egg for breakfast, studying wall papers (he used to work in a wall paper factory), writing reports on his own doings and those of other people living in the block, cutting pictures from journals and gluing them in a book. The only people he has contact with are his sister, who he sends letters to, and a neighbour Lem, who moves away. Epp is happy, if he succeeds in cooking a perfect egg and if there are no ink spots in the report.

Epp is an average citizen, which is revealed by his three-letter name. If he held a higher position, the name could be Eppe, Eppen or even Eppenepp Epp; it could be worse though: Ep or just plain E.

Nothing really ”happens” in the book: it consists solely of Epp’s thoughts, plans and discussions. This is a dark picture of the future, but also a criticism of the technological development and the control of society. The novel’s humour distinguishes it from other literary dystopias - Huxley’s, Bradbury’s or Orwell’s - and puts Jensen closer to authors like Kurt Vonnegut.

Contact translation rights

Kristin Weholt,
Cappelen Damm Agency
N- 0055 Oslo
Akersgata 47/49
Tel: +47 21 61 65 00

Chatto & Windus
Original language
Original title
Epp (1965)
Earlier in these languages
Danish, French, German and Swedish.
Abraham Woursell Prize (1965)

Available as
120 Pages
second hand