PALACE OF ICE by Tarjei Vesaas


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This Norwegian import about a young girl's mystic involvement with love and death and the experience of rebirth, is as portentous and iridiscent as a spill of Northern lights. Eleven-year-old Siss, acknowledged leader of her school group, is drawn to Unn, a silent girl always waiting on the outskirts of the convivial center. Unn's magnetic proferring of love brings Siss and Unn to a disturbing but exhilarating unity of identity. But Unn wanders into the fantastic chambers of an ""ice palace"" on the frozen river and dies. Siss promises faithfulness, and retreats into the ""fateful circle"" of silence as she absorbs the ""gift"" of preserving her love for Unn. Yet when, at the ice palace, the dead Unn appears as a vision to Siss, she accepts the death. As spring moves upon a frozen world, Siss' own restless stirring breaks her free, and she returns to her friends. The ice palace, after a ""violent struggle"" disappears forever, ""with all its secrets."" Although the translation is more faithful than evocative, this extravagantly original illumination of the dark, primeval congruence of death and life, growth and suspension, has a haunting tenacity.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 1968
Publisher: Morrow