This was an interesting story with very descriptive writing -- you can really get a sense of the Norwegian countryside as you read -- which looks at the events of one man's youth from his perspective as an adult. The English translation is good, but it is a read which requires close attention, since the time frame can shift from the past to the present very readily.
This is historical fiction taking place in Norway during World War II and then again many years later. The subject matter is dark, but good. It depicts not an easy life in the countryside, but also shows the beauty too. The book goes back and forth from the present to the past (World War II), when the protagonist was a teenager. We are reading it for our book club book next month.
Set in an isolated corner of Norway, this haunting novel is as beautiful as it is melancholy. The story unfolds around a middle aged man (Trond)who has returned at the beginning of winter to a cabin he once lived in with his father because he needs to come to terms with something that has haunted him all his life, something that occurred when he and his father spent the summer there in 1948. And so the reader is gradually drawn into what Trond is remembering and the impact it has had on him. The author takes us back and forth between the present as Trond discovers that his nearest neighbor is actually the younger brother of Jon, Tronds strange boyhood friend with whom he used to go out stealing horses, and the things that actually took place that long ago summer. Gradually we discover what happened -- events that involved Tronds friendship with Jon and his family, as well as discoveries Trond was making about his own father. Its a poignant story but one that the reader must work hard at deciphering because Trond himself is very guarded and reticent when it comes to revealing whats going on inside him. Its as if the deeper his memories take him into the past, the harder he works at keeping himself from from betraying the impact they are having on him, and the feelings that go along with it. Instead he tries to skirt around them by paying an inordinate amount of attention to describing his surroundings, his rambles with his dog, his work getting the cabin in order for the winter, etc. Slowly the reader begins to realize how difficult it is for Trond to deal with what happened when he was a child and the deep sadness he has carried with him all his life. What I found most remarkable about this book is how adept the author was at letting us discover the depth of Tronds feelings even though Trond himself was so unable to articulate them.
This book is a very detailed account of an old man thinking back on one summer and living his present life. If you like that it is a good book. In many ways I felt I was reading someone's blog. And I never read blogs.