cover image Tutelary Tales

Tutelary Tales

Villy Surensen, Villy Sorensen, Villy Srensen. University of Nebraska Press, $25 (244pp) ISBN 978-0-8032-4185-5

Translated from the Danish, these 12 short stories by a recipient of the Swedish Academy's ``Little Nobel Prize,'' are, as noted in the Afterword, ``exclusive and demanding.'' Composites of allegory and irony, they are influenced by many sources, principally Kafka, whose prints may be found in convoluted tales such as ``The Guardian's Tales'' and ``The History of a Guardianship,'' surrealistic voyages through the relationship between guardian and ward in historical, political and personal dimensions. More accessible is ``The Boss,'' wherein a man of power confronts a symbol of his repressed youth. Other stories are recastings of biblical events and classical myths; particularly vivid in grotesqueries is ``Emperor and Apostle,'' depicting the title characters as unwitting symbols of a system. Designed as an entity, the stories are intended by the author as ``chapters in the history of the European psyche.'' This is a volume in the Modern Scandinavian Literature in Translation series. (Nov.)