A novel of modern Norway, which introduces a new Scandinavian author to an American public. A rather extraordinarily gripping book, utterly different from the conventional ""novel"" -- a story of human relationships largely internal, rather than a plotted romance. The thread on which the theme is woven is the strange friendship from school days, of two men, the one, Dr. Hallem, a morbid, introspective failure, from his own viewpoint; the other, Professor Reiter, a public success, of whose happy approach to life Hallem had always been jealous to the point, eventually, of virtual madness. Into this situation is introduced a sub plot, dealing with the families of the two men. And from it all emerges a strangely vital sense of reality, without any conviction of rounding out a story -- or any need for it. Here is a book, that -- given a fortunate break -- might come through a wide distribution among discriminating readers. Failing the right start, it seems to lack the self-starter qualities. So, watch your critical sources, and your public response.