Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Conqueror

Another Scandinavian lit review for Library Journal this month...

The Conqueror by Jan Kjaerstad

In The Conqueror, the second novel in the Jonas Wegeland trilogy (after The Seducer), celebrated Norwegian author Jan Kjaerstad offers a dark narrative exploring both the "Norwegian national character" and the human condition.
A scholar has been contracted to write the definitive biography of Wegeland, one of Norway's most famous personages, now infamous after murdering his wife. After two years of research, the scholar is mired in contradictory details and suffering from acute writer's block. That is until a mysterious stranger arrives at his doorstep. What follows is a set of eccentric but intimate stories, ostensibly recalled by the stranger, that woven together -- "the sequence is crucial; only by following it can you hope to understand anything at all [...] just one story out of place and it all falls apart" (64) -- may yield a coherent picture of Wegeland.

Read the full review at Library Journal.

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