cover image Adam's Diary

Adam's Diary

Knut Faldbakken. University of Nebraska Press, $25 (246pp) ISBN 978-0-8032-1974-8

This masterfully crafted Norwegian novel studies how the insidious power of social roles can corrupt relations between men and women. In three confessional narratives by men parading as ""Thief,'' ``Dog'' and ``Prisoner,'' Faldbakken dramatizes the warped love each man has felt for the same woman, a waitress who leaves her husband to become ``a better and more complete human being.'' Adam's Diary resists cliche, aiming instead for a dead-on dissection of the sexual stereotypes that sabotage companionship and social change. Always in the background is Norwegian society, an affluent prison bolted in place by consumer debt and double-digit mortgage rates. Ultimately, the men's misogyny instigates a tragic conclusion to this exceptional novel. American readers of serious fiction would be fortunate indeed if all Faldbakken's work was translated into English. (January)