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Nesbø accused of 'pissing' on Sami people

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Nesbø accused of 'pissing' on Sami people
Ande Somby performs the yoik 'why do you hate me?'. Photo: Screen Grab
22:26 CEST+02:00
Blockbuster crime novelist Jo Nesbø has been accused of stereotyping Norway's Sami people after describing a character as having "narrow eyes” in his new book More Blood.
In the novel, a character from the Sami, who are indigenous to Northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia and traditionally herd reindeer, is described as “small and stocky, with black hair and narrow eyes". 
 
Ánde Somby, a Sami law professor and performer of traditional Sami yoiks, accused Nesbo of “pissing” on Sami men. 
 
“This group has always been bullied, and do not need to be trampled on again,” he told Norway's Nordlys newspaper.
 
“Nesbø has a huge reach, and that brings great ethical responsibility. I would have hoped he'd have done enough research to find out that Sami men have been pissed on so often that he didn't need to add another stone to the burden they carry.” 
 
The offending passage comes in an expert when the novel's her Ulf meets a Sami character called Mikkel. 
 
In an email to the newspaper, Nesbø argued that as the novel is set in the 1970s, and Mikkel is being seen through the eyes of a man from southern Norway, the description was true to the prejudices of the time. 
 
“We are in the 70s, and the fact that Ulf describes Mikkel this way is I think, based on my own experience in Finnmark in the 70s and later when I lived there in the early 80s, a realistic depiction of the prejudices many people from Oslo had.”  
 
Somby dismissed the excuse out of hand. 
 
“He's not man enough to say that this was wrong. I have read many of his books, and thinks this is simply poor workmanship,” he said. 
 
 

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