Nate D's Reviews > The Boat in the Evening

The Boat in the Evening by Tarjei Vesaas
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's review
Apr 30, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: norway, ice-and-snow, 60s-re-de-construction, read-in-2012, favorites
Read from April 25 to 30, 2012

Fragile humanity alone in the undying magnitude of nature. Instants of crystalline clarity of word and deep psychic significance. Simple eloquence and beauty shaped into thought-series like drops of water rapidly following one another down a leaf, each in graceful expression of subtle design. Quiet resonance.

More series of prose poems than the novel I had taken it for originally, but there's a certain thematic arc holding things together. Not for nothing the vignettes are numbered in a specific order. Some are rather abstract (your heart lies by the roadside while the ocean has crept up to the house and a boat taps the wall), some extremely concrete (clearing the way through snow and fog on a winter morning, observing the return of the cranes to a hidden pond, awaiting a meeting in snowfall), all are wise and deftly expressive.

Each of Vesaas' books, starting with The Ice Palace, earned him a nobel prize nomination, but he never got one, and died just after this last work was published. It feels like an elegy, the best elegy.
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