PILGRIM AT SEA by Par Lagerkvist


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The story-telling magic of Par Lagerkvist, heavily freighted with mystic concerns, is again at work in this brief, puzzling, yet compelling spiritual tableau. Tobias, an unlikely pilgrim, is aboard a ship whose captain has promised to take him to the Holy Land. It is not the pilgrim ship he rides, however, but a pirate ship; when the captain comes upon a wreck and the survivors will not give him all they possess, he has his men fall upon the merchants unmercifully and do them to death. Yet there is another man aboard the ship, a defrocked priest named Giovanni (so named for the Lord's favorite), who saves Tobias from the bestial, murderous onslaught of errante, remarks upon the way of the pilgrim and his unlikely aspect, and tells his own story...of a carnal passion which led to scandal and his own present fate. Promised to God by his mother from childhood, Giovanni could not resist the seductive all of a woman who came to confess her sinful love of an unspecified ""beloved""...and becomes that beloved who had not existed before...There is a misty message here of the supremacy of love beyond all religiosity. Tobias remains at sea (""no fixed goal, no goal at all...Only the sea...The holy sea"") with Giovanni in a spiritual quest which is, somehow, answered.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1964
Publisher: Random House