Sales of a new and much-debated book about the mother of convicted terrorist Anders Behring Brevik are exceeding all expectations, according to publishing firm Aschehoug. Both Aschehoug and author Marit Christensen continue, however, to fend off criticism .
A second printing is already underway, after the first run of 10,000 books seems likely to sell out. “There will be another press run, quite soon,” Aschehoug sales chief Even Høegh Kaalstad told news bureau NTB.
The book went on sale in Norway last Thursday and bookshops are also reporting brisk business. After being met with a deluge of criticism from Norwegian journalists and commentators, many of whom had tried and failed to snare the lengthy interviews with Wenche Behring Breivik that Christensen got over the course of a year, the book also gained more praise from a professor at the University of Oslo over the weekend. Kjell Lars Berge, who also serves as a literary critic, called the book “a warm and personal portrait of a difficult and sad life,” and told newspaper Aftenposten that he thinks much of the criticism directed at Christensen and Aschehoug is unjustified and “moralistic.”
Lawyers for Wenche Behring Breivik continue to claim, though, that she’d had a change of heart and wanted to halt publication before she died last spring. Others accuse Christensen of inaccuracies, with rival publisher Kagge Forlag demanding an apology for claiming that Breivik had asked Kagge’s own author to leave her deathbed after a surprise visit. Christensen has stood by her work and claimed she has no regrets for moving forward with the book. Aschehoug on Monday announced “a few” changes in the next edition but has claimed it had no reason to apologize.