Music from a Blue Well

Torborg Nedreaas, Author, Bibbi Lee, Translator University of Nebraska Press $21 (238p) ISBN 978-0-8032-3315-7
The music emanating from a forbidden well seems to resonate with the artistic aspirations of a troubled, sensitive adolescent girl whose confused attempts to define herself in an alien world form the substance of this Norwegian novel. Originally published in 1960, it now appears in a first English translation under the aegis of the University of Nebraska's European Women Writers series. In the period just before the onset of World War I, Herdis is caught in melancholy circumstances: her parents divorce and each maneuvers for her allegiance, her mother and her lover on one side, her father with his new lady on the other. Herdis, so recently a child and not yet a woman, tries desperately to make sense of the adult world. Tremendous events are explodingthe Russian Revolution, the great war itselfbut these are as nothing compared to the events in Herdis's life. Will she visit Copenhagen alone with Daddy? What's the meaning of the gift of a new bicycle? Will her silly giggling girlfriends accept her as one of them? And will Charles, whose amorous attentions she hopes for, do right by her? In sorry truth, the girl fails distressingly to arrest our interest. For an American audience this will appear ground that has been ploughed before. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
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