Prizewinning Dutch novelist Möring (The Great Longing, 1995, etc.) is a writer of impressive imaginative power who's also gifted with a fluent narrative style—at least as rendered in Knecht's mellifluous English translation of this replete and challenging 1997 novel. It's a circuitous and fragmented family saga, the bulk of which is narrated by Nathan Hollander, a popular writer of fairy tales, to his young niece Nina—when a massive snowstorm in effect imprisons them in a longvacant old house that vibrates with the (pseudonymous) ``Hollanders' '' secrets and ghosts. What emerge from their confinement are the stories of a Polish family's emigration to Holland and thence to America during WWII, then back ``home''—and of a selfproclaimed ``messiah'' (Nina's father, and Nathan's brother) whose turbulent life and unexplained disappearance vividly evoke the experience of diaspora that lies at the heart of this dark fable of unbelonging. Occasionally portentous, intermittently obscure (Möring has a habit of telling when he ought to be showing); still, on balance, a tense, troubling, and illuminating work.