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Misery Harbour (1999) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Oslo, 1932. Espen Arnakke, an up and coming Danish born writer who only writes non-fiction, is constantly butting heads with book critic Johan Hoeg, who has not been impressed by anything about Espen since his arrival onto the literary scene in Norway. Upon reflection, Espen realizes that there is some truth to Johan's words, regardless of his arrogant tone, based on Espen perhaps not being true to himself in what he is writing. As such, he decides to give his in-progress memoirs to the one person who he truly does want to impress, Johan's girlfriend Jenny, to read. Those memoirs largely detail him trying to escape from his life: escaping from his small town Danish upbringing where he was expected, as was every other male, to work at the town's ironworks, instead of his want to pursue some sort of schooling; and escaping from the sadistic captain and crew on the Newfoundland bound merchant ship he boarded in escaping from Denmark. He ended up in the fishing town of Misery Harbour, Newfoundland, where he believed he was truly free for the first time in his life. Despite life in Misery Harbour not being perfect, with his inexperienced self having some woman troubles, he ultimately wanted to escape one more time, from John Wakefield, one of his crew-mates aboard the merchant ship who seemingly double-crossed him while they were crew-mates, and who also ends up in Misery Harbour. As Jenny gets to this section of the story, she questions Espen's truthfulness in the story, which, if is indeed a lie, would be based on an assertion he made about mankind to Johan.

    Huggo
  • A young writer named Espen Arnakke tells the story of his escape from the small Danish town of Jante. Espen boards a ship headed to Newfoundland, but the harsh conditions on board makes him jump ship, and he ends up in the little town of Misery Harbour. There he meets the girl of his dreams. But his passion shifts to jealousy when one of the men from the ship mysteriously appears in town, and sets out to make Espen's life a misery.

    Signy

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