My Men: A Novel (Hardcover)

My Men: A Novel By Victoria Kielland, Damion Searls (Translated by) Cover Image
By Victoria Kielland, Damion Searls (Translated by)
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A New York Times Best Crime Novel of 2023

A Wall Street Journal Best Mystery Book of 2023

A CrimeReads Best Historical Fiction and International Crime Novel of 2023

A Best Book of 2023 - Chicago Review of Books and Marie Claire

"An eerily lyrical tour de force . . . [A] horrific, sustained portrait of a traumatized human soul." —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

"Kielland plumbs Belle’s inner life through jaggedly rhythmic prose, where what should be obvious is sometimes opaque and what’s often shrouded — female rage — takes center stage."
—Sarah Weinman, The New York Times


"This fascinating, off-kilter novel about a female serial killer is an unexpectedly thrilling read.”
—Karl Ove Knausgård, author of My Struggle and The Morning Star

Based on the true story of Norwegian maid turned Midwestern farmwife Belle Gunness, the first female serial killer in American history. My Men is a fictional account of one broken woman's descent into inescapable madness.


Among thousands of other Norwegian immigrants seeking freedom, Brynhild Størset emigrated to the American Upper Midwest in the late nineteenth century, changing her name and her life. As Bella, later Belle Gunness, she came in search of not only fortune and true faith but, most of all, love.

From Victoria Kielland, a rising star of Norwegian literature, comes My Men, a literary reimagining of the harrowing true story of Belle Gunness, who slowly but irreversibly turned to senseless murder for release from her pain, becoming America’s first known female serial killer. In pursuit of her American Dream, Kielland’s Belle grows increasingly alienated, ruthless, and perversely compelling.

Raw, visceral, and altogether hypnotic, My Men is a brutal yet radically empathetic glimpse into the world of a woman consumed by desire.

About the Author


Victoria Kielland’s first book, the 2013 short prose collection I Lyngen (In the Heather) was shortlisted for the Tarjei Vesaas debutant prize. In 2016, Kielland’s first novel Dammyr (Marsh Pond) was shortlisted for the Youth Critics’ Prize and the literary committee of the Norwegian Authors’ Union awarded her the Norwegian Booksellers’ primary writer’s scholarship. My Men is her breakthrough novel, published to rave reviews in Norway in 2021, as well as a huge international success with more foreign sales.

Praise For…


"Kielland plumbs Belle’s inner life through jaggedly rhythmic prose, where what should be obvious is sometimes opaque and what’s often shrouded — female rage — takes center stage."
Sarah Weinman, The Best Crime Books of 2023, The New York Times

"My Men is a stylistic tour de force . . . It reads like an expressionist prose-poem penned by a stark-minded zealot . . . Kielland is clearly a gifted writer, and My Men is an impressively realized creation."
Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

"My Men, superbly translated by Damion Searls, is a portrait of a woman trying, and failing, to escape her punishing trajectory. Bit by bit, day by day, we see, and come to understand, what has made Belle Gunness a killer."
Sarah Weinman, The New York Times Book Review

"This novel turns the tropes of true crime on its head."
—Michael Barron, The Rumpus

"This fascinating, off-kilter novel about a female serial killer is an unexpectedly thrilling read.”
—Karl Ove Knausgård, author of My Struggle and The Morning Star

"Kielland’s dense, lyrical novel offers both insight and opacity . . .  Despite the subject matter, this novel is not your typical thriller. The language, in Searls’ translation, is dense, poetic, and deeply figurative." 
Kirkus Reviews


Product Details
ISBN: 9781662601927
ISBN-10: 1662601921
Publisher: Astra House
Publication Date: June 27th, 2023
Pages: 208
Language: English