Expatriate American author Kennedy finally gets the major U.S. release merited by his European reviews with this third volume of his Copenhagen Quartet.
Originally published in Ireland and Denmark as Greene’s Summer in 2004, the novel is set, like its companions in the quartet, in the author’s adopted home, Copenhagen. The central characters have both survived violence. Bernardo Greene was a teacher in Pinochet’s Chile, imprisoned and tortured for sharing political poetry with his students. His therapist, who is also one of the narrators, must compel him to revisit the horrors he experienced in order to overcome them. Still wounded by domestic abuse and her daughter’s suicide, Michela Ibsen tries to lose herself in the arms of a young lover, who is charming and devoted but also dangerously jealous. Nardo is captivated by Michela the first time he sees her, and the relationship that blossoms between these two damaged people forms the novel’s core. Investigating the effects of brutality on the human soul, Kennedy does not allow himself to become overwhelmed by the subject’s gravity. He does not preach or condemn; instead, he offers two exquisitely crafted characters a chance to explore the legacy of inhumanity and to enact a drama of resilience—redemption, even. While he was in prison, Nardo was visited by angels who told him that he would know love and beauty again. He emerges from his ordeal an angry, nihilistic man, but the transcendent possibility of hope is Kennedy’s gift to his characters and his readers.
An artfully written story with a conscience.