cover image Sleeping Prince

Sleeping Prince

Knut Faldbakken. Peter Owen Publishers, $30.95 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-7206-0710-9

First published in Norway in 1971, this engaging novel (Faldbakken's fourth) varies the ``Sleeping Beauty'' fairy tale into the realm of serious psychological fiction. Maude, a 47-year-old virgin, is in love with Mr. Eldmann, a quiet, unassuming fellow boardinghouse resident. She convinces herself that Eldmann is communicating with her in a secret ``language of love''; in reality she's bogged down in a quagmire of self-deception. Maude's repressed sexuality becomes pathological, and as her state of mind deteriorates, her fantasy, to find a ``sleeping prince,'' assumes disturbing proportions. Faldbakken writes convincingly from the point of view of the troubled spinster; if her fussiness is somewhat claustrophobic early in the book, the language eventually achieves a supple tension, becoming, by the dark twist at novel's end, appealingly expansive. (Nov.)