Pelle the Conqueror

Martin Andersen Nex, Author Fjord Press $19.95 (2p) ISBN 978-0-940242-40-1
More expansive than the recent Academy Award-winning film adaptation, the first of a four-volume Danish classic follows the fortunes of Lasse Karlsson, an impoverished, aging Swede, and his young son, Pelle. Attracted by legendary prosperity--``you would never feel cold there, for they wore wool next to their skin, not this tow-linen that the wind blew right through''--they migrate to Denmark in the late 19th century. Although Nexo (1869-1954) had indeed helped organize labor movements prior to the novel's publication in 1906, his is not an impassioned cry for an end to exploitation. Wiser and slyer, Nexo animates Lasse's and Pelle's benighted progress with a ripe humor. What distinguishes the writing and lends it an epic quality are deadpan interpolations in the narrative that neatly suggest minor characters' points of view: ``As long as Gustav was paying for a comely housemaid's amusements, she should have stayed with him. Who would protect the hens that ate their grain at home and laid their eggs at the neighbor's? Who but the neighbors?'' (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 222 pages - 978-1-155-09610-0
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