cover image Twilight Country

Twilight Country

Knut Faldbakken. Peter Owen Publishers, $34.95 (216pp) ISBN 978-0-7206-0885-4

A dark, end-of-the-millennium vision permeates this novel by Norwegian author Faldbakken ( Insect Summer ). Fleeing from the collapsing economic, social and legal systems of Sweetwater, a dystopian city in an unnamed country, former architect Allan Ung takes his teenage wife, Lisa, and their four-year-old son, Boy, to live in the Dump, a garbage disposal site that now houses an assortment of refugees from this dying society. Among them are Doc, a back-to-the-land idealist; his arthritic wife, who despises him for the life they are forced to lead; the outlaw brothers Felix and Run-Run; Mary Diamond and her alcoholic pimp/boyfriend Smiley. The mute Run-Run and Boy develop a close friendship, Allan and Mary become lovers and Doc regards Lisa with a paternal eye, especially after her pregnancy is revealed. The author pessimistically suggests that these self-proclaimed outcasts can never create a better society, but his narrative, which shows the loose tribe enduring if not flourishing, implies at least a Darwinian survival of the fittest. (Dec.)