THE HONEYMOON by Knut Faldbakken


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Originally published in Norway, and a best seller there, this is a rich, passionate, powerful story of the breakup of a modern marriage. The narrator is 38-year-old Vidar Wenge, a vain, somewhat pompous journalist (he writes a column on ""social relationships"") who fancies that he and his wife Johanna (a professor of Norwegian literature) have a pretty good marriage: ""Vidar and Jo, perhaps not idyllic but stable and confident, an inspiration to others, a solid enterprise."" He's still under that impression when he invites her to a mountain resort hotel on a second honeymoon/working holiday (he will correct galleys of his latest book, she will attend seminars given by her colleagues in literature), but things change rather quickly. First, he discovers that she's in love with Simon Adamsen, a Norwegian poet attending the conference--and then that Simon's latest girlfriend is none other than Vidar's old flame, Rosa Johansen. After rolling Rosa in the hay in revenge, Vidar also learns that Johanna is not merely having a fling: she really wants to leave him (and the kids) to start a life of her own. What began as a kind of sexual farce now turns into a far darker story as Vidar and Johanna graphically explore her masochistic sexuality and play out the end of their marriage in this bleak hotel full of health fanatics and drunks. Johanna is somewhat overdrawn as a bitchy woman who will abandon her family at any cost, and certain aspects of the couple's bitter mutual recriminations seem unavoidably reminiscent of Scenes from a Marriage. But this is, still, an effective and effectively disturbing novel of the war between men and women.

Pub Date: March 23rd, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's