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Book Title: The Forest of Hours|
Date of issue: December 15th 1998
ISBN 13: 9780701166144
The author of the book: Kerstin Ekman
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.27 MB
Edition: Chatto & Windus
Read full description of the books The Forest of Hours:It was a scrawny little troll, unknowing and guileless, and not much given to thinking at all. There was little more than fluttering, like the wings of jays, going on under that tussock of hair.
Skord is a creature of the forest – not a troll as I thought of trolls, and not very fantastic except that he has the gift, shaman-wise, of sending his consciousness into other beings (which he does by habit just for the trip), and he lives for the five hundred years of the novel. There are giants in the forest too: these are slow-lived and eon-slow of thought. Like Skord, they are more likely to be victims of humans, as humans develop from medieval to the industrial age. The forest is that of Sweden’s wild Skule, and as much a presence in the book as the sea in Moby Dick – both the real-as-real depiction and getting metaphysical about it too.
Skord, who cannot help but mimic what he hears and sees, learns from humans, interacts with them and slips into their world. This is the story of his knowledge gained of that world, his corruption by it, his possible escape from it and salvation? It’s the alien eye turned on us and on our history. The book is dark and grim, with gentle gleams. Skord is more acted upon than acting; he witnesses how strange we are, without any concern to judge us – he can be disturbingly detached, at our abysmal behaviour. Yet it is his empathy with vulnerable things, often animals or children, lives he can identify with, that is his grace. I experienced this as an anti-human book. Whether it is or not I don’t know, it remains enigmatic to me. It is a creatures’ book, however.
It has been translated into drop-dead gorgeous English. The translator, Anna Paterson, must have brought such art to it herself, even if the Swedish is this lovely.
In the end it may be too dark for me or for my comfort, but after two reads now this has got to be one of my most-admired books, certainly of recent ones. The woman is a genius. I’ll have to try her crime novel, Blackwater, that is above and beyond your usual crime novel, they say. Alas with a different translator, but again, a remote forest setting.
Review when I'm competent. But they can bury me with this one.
Read information about the authorKerstin Lillemor Ekman is a Swedish novelist.
She began her career with a string of successful detective novels (among others De tre små mästarna ("The Three Little Masters") and Dödsklockan ("The Death Clock")) but later went on to persue psychological and social themes. Among her later works are Mörker och blåbärsris ("Darkness and Blueberries"), set in northern Sweden, and Händelser vid vatten (translated as Blackwater), in which she returned to the form of the detective novel.
Ekman was elected a member of the Swedish Academy in 1978, but left the Academy in 1989, together with Lars Gyllensten and Werner Aspenström, due to the debate following death threats posed to Salman Rushdie. According to the rules of the Academy, however, she will remain a passive member for the entirety of her life.
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