In the late 1970s, a pyromaniac runs amok in a close-knit community in rural Norway. Homes are burnt to a cinder, and panic spreads, as neighbours wonder who amongst them could be wreaking such fear and anguish. And slowly, almost imperceptibly, a mother comes to realise that her son is lighting the fires. Born into this time of chaos, Gaute Heivoll is indelibly linked to the arsonist intent on such destruction. By juxtaposing the pyromaniac's story with his own, Heivoll explores memory, loss and the agonising separation of child from parent that it is a rite of passage for us all. Written in fluid, luminous prose, Before I Burn is a literary sensation, by the foremost Norwegian writer of his generation.