Max, Micha & the Tet Offensive by Johan Harstad

In Max, Micha & het Tet Offensive, Johan Harstad writes about the confusing lives of a Norwegian family that migrates to the USA. The family falls apart while they are trying to re-establish their lives in their new country, they find each other, drift away again, and come back again.

Harstad’s style is very detailed, he uses very long sentences that nevertheless read like a roller-coaster ride. He drags the reader through the youth of the Norwegians and their friends, their dwellings and their unfulfilled dreams in the US, in Vietnam, Canada.

The art world in the 80s and 90s is part of the scene – Max is a stage director, his girl friend Mischa a talented painter.

SOnix Youth somehow plays an important role in the book. Through never very exploicit, Harstad refers a number of times to Kim Gordon and Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation album. Kim Gordon visits one of the first exhibitions of Mischa, and promises to buy a large realistic painting of a refrigerator (probably a reference to their album Washing Machine).

In the back of the book a song text from Sonic Youth is quoted.

It’s an anthem in a vacuum on a hyperstation
Day dreaming days in a daydream nation