Nothing Grows by Moonlight

Torborg Nedreaas, Author, Bibbi Lee, Translator University of Nebraska Press $45 (198p) ISBN 978-0-8032-3313-3
Surcharged with emotional power, this polemic novel begins when a nameless woman walks with a stranger to his house, enters and compulsively starts to talk. The conversation spirals and rambles; she stops to gulp whiskey and drag at cigarettes, always circling back to her obsessive passion for her former teacher and lover, Johannes. Her story is humdrum: poverty, pregnancy, abortion with a knitting needle, gossip, rejectionall when she was only 17. But the manner of telling is electric, bursting with the natural wonder of love. Long, aching passages describe the stilling of her heart and the new liveliness of her mind as she begins to puzzle out the unfairness of the life she sees around her: the class differences that doom so many women to hardworking poverty while those they serve live in idle luxury. She makes friends with an old man, an organist, who soaks his dreams in drink, but takes her into the church and fills her with the glory of Bach. It is he who implies that love is madness. ""Nothing grows by moonlight,'' he tells her. First published in Norway in 1947 and recently adapted for the stage there, this glowing, elegantly translated novel has already earned a wide audience in Europe and a rising reputation for its author. (January 8)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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