Happiness is a Cold Fjord by Joanna Kavenna

Joanna Kavenna

Happiness is a Cold Fjord


Iwas in Oslo for a job. Mostly it involved speaking to people about happiness, which is a lot more fun than speaking about despair and gloom. They disagreed wildly about the definition of happiness but they all told me to go cross-country skiing. I was happy (as it were) in Oslo, and each day I walked down to the harbour and gazed across the silvery fjord. There is a vast new library with space for half a million books and a menacingly glamorous temple to Edvard Munch. Yet various kind people kept urging me to hit the slopes and told me exciting things about the snow in Gudbrandsdalen. I thanked them and said I couldn’t wait. But in truth, dear reader, I was lying.

Skiing – in my opinion – makes you happy and unhappy at the same time. It depends on how cold and seriously injured you get. It’s different for Norwegians because they learn to ski as soon as they are born, or thereabouts, and they all ski beautifully. I learned to ski in my twenties, when I was living in Oslo. I’ve only ever skied in Norway, and only ever skied badly. Still, Oslo

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