I did like this book; this is the first time I’ve read something for discussion in a very long time (college, in fact) so I’m happy to have read Barbara’s, Cinnamon’s, and JGH’s very thought-provoking analyses. I’m afraid mine is just going to be impressions, rather than trying to figure things out.
Time is so very fluid here, and so the central theme of river and the water, and even the fluidity between borders. Where does Norway end and Sweden begin? The characters can’t really tell out in the wilderness. Only at the end, when society and civilization impinge with currency and language as Trond and his mother discover the money his father made is insignificant, is the difference made clear.
This was definitely a man’s/nature’s world. Women were on the edge, or kept out, or marginalized. I was shocked when Trond’s daughter appears suddenly out of nowhere, and he doesn’t immediately recognize her. His wife is killed in a car accident. His sister dies of a disease. This has me thinking more and more about the role of Lars’ mother. At first I saw her also as on the edge, the sexual awakener, the mother. Think of her, riding home all that way not knowing her son had been killed by his twin! But she is very central to the entire book. Without her, nothing would have happened. And yet, we barely know anything about her.