NIGHT MUSIC by Sven Stolpe


Email this review


This is a religious and psychological novel about the workings of grace in human lives by a Swedish convert to Catholicism, author of Sound of a Distant Horn. It's a strange and murky book, set, presumably, in a modern state, a constitutional monarchy, grappling with the menace of Communism. And yet its political tone and the pervasive presence of a father confessor in the lives of its characters seems oddly medieval. But there's another difficulty: its psychological elements, while serving to explain the surface behavior of the characters, seem to be merely superimposed on a structure and motivation that is essentially religious, and rather than explicating what should be complexity it merely confuses and proves, eventually, unacceptable. Herbert Falk, the prime minister of the state, has, by his sterile conservatism and the rigidity of his ""faith"", rejected his daughter, supposedly a wanton, alienated his son who turns to Communism seeking the humane values the expected from Catholicism and estranged himself from his wife, a pious hypocrite. Through the influence of the ubiquitous Father Leo and a series of tragic political events, involving the death of his son, he is humbled and his wife is made to see the fraudulence of her piety. And Regina, his daughter, about to enter into a homosexual relationship, is deterred by the mystical chastity of her lover and the striking example of her father. An exasperatingly uneven book though sound in many ways.

Pub Date: May 18th, 1960
Publisher: Sheed & Ward