The Seer & Other Stories

Jonas L. Lie, Author, Richard Trevor, Translator Forest Books $19.95 (148p) ISBN 978-0-948259-65-4
In his romantic novella and collection of mystical folk stories, the 19th-century Norwegian Lie tells of doomed love and the struggle against madness in a Norway dominated by climatic extremes that ``crush the mind'' and ``seize at the innermost, fine strings of the temperament.'' On a larger scale, Lie depicts the clash between Christianity and paganism in a land peopled by seamen and farmers, some of whom still believe in draugs, or ``the spirits of drowned men that sail at sea in half-boats,'' in underground leprechauns, and ``wicked, alluring mountain sirens.'' In the novella, The Seer , Christianity triumphs when a mentally ill tutor who was raised in a dark, superstitious household recovers from attacks of insanity when he recalls the love of a dead childhood sweetheart, the daughter of an enlightened minister. While readers will enjoy the stormy sea scenes, fantastic descriptions of ``glass'' underwater islands, and spare, lyrical prose, some are likely to be disturbed by the emphasis placed on the superiority of Christianity over pagan religions. The translators provide an illuminating introduction as well as a glossary of folkloric terms. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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