cover image The Land of Dreams

The Land of Dreams

Vidar Sundstøl, trans. from the Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally. Univ. of Minnesota, $24.95 (344p) ISBN 978-0-8166-8940-8

Norwegian crime novelist Sundstøl’s stellar psychological thriller, the first in his Minnesota Trilogy, stunningly evokes the North Shore of Lake Superior and its people—Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish settlers, as well as Objibway Native Americans. When 46-year-old forest ranger and amateur historian Lance Hansen checks out a report of someone illegally pitching a tent near the lake, he comes across a distraught naked man smeared with dried blood and close by the body of the man’s murdered companion, both apparently Norwegian tourists. Lance soon gets entangled in a web of intrigue, revenge, and old unresolved conflicts—not the least agonizing of which is with his brother, Andy, whom Lance saw near the murder site before discovering the body. Sundstøl, who lived two years on the North Shore, makes dreams his central metaphor for the monsters that old Vikings and the Ojibway both knew lurked at the base of the universe and in the depths of human hearts. Like his detective Eirik Nyland, brought from Oslo to investigate the crime, Sundstøl is an outsider, and as such, he clearly recognizes the violent energy beneath the placid surface of Cook County, Minn. Nunnally’s convincing translation helps bring it all to unforgettable life. (Sept.)