THE SWAN by Gudbergur Bergsson


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This limpid novel, which won for its Icelandic author his country's 1991 Literary Prize, tells in a lyrical style replete with sensuous descriptive passages and quirky metaphors the story of a nine-year-old girl punished for shoplifting by incarceration on a rustic ""work farm."" In fact, her new home is a kind of unpretentious fairyland where human dwellers (her lenient employers, their pregnant daughter, a convivial farmhand) and animal presences (horses, a lamb, and the enigmatic title creature) alike imbue her with a resilience capable of enduring the ""vast hopelessness"" that afflicts her homeland. A winning combination of subtle psychological study, beast fable, and prose poem rendered into graceful, haunting English prose.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1998
Page count: 152pp
Publisher: Mare's Nest--dist. by Dufour