MOMENT OF FREEDOM: The Heiligenberg Manuscript by Jens Bjorneboe

MOMENT OF FREEDOM: The Heiligenberg Manuscript

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An indictment of one's own culture--the author is a Norwegian of German parentage--usually requires a prosecutor of high-wire irony. Here, however, Bjornboe's narrator, a ""Servant of Justice"" (a courtroom janitor in an Alpine village) parades Germanic and other grotesqueries with placard grimaces: ""We smoke our pipes. . . and. . . speak together of soothing things such as war, torture, politics, etc."" He prepares a ""Protocol"" against the crimes of ""Teutonia"": ""the Germans are lewder and in a lewder way than most."" He remembers the porcine days of Nazism and celebrates the West, where ""everything is buried in lies and Germanic bustle and health, hypocrisy and greed."" But Teutonie sickness is only one variety of human depravity--and the roll call begins with various murders, cruelties, enslavements, maimings, etc. After insets of childhood memories, Tuscany landscapes, a death-village, and at the last, mystical union with humanity in the catacombs, Bjorneboe's Witness/Searcher recites his existential primer--to stay sane one must not take the world seriously and freedom means a crystalline aloneness. Although certain episodes and vistas contain the brightest suns, the deepest hells--this tract seems too directly derived and overly conceptualized.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1975
Publisher: Norton