cover image The Ravens: Minnesota Trilogy 3

The Ravens: Minnesota Trilogy 3

Vidar Sundst%C3%B8l, trans. from the Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally. Univ. of Minnesota, $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8166-8944-6

Blood, real and metaphorical, dominates Sundst%C3%B8l's first in his Minnesota trilogy, Land of Dreams, in which forest ranger Lance Hansen suspects his brother, Andy, of bludgeoning a Norwegian tourist to death. Ice envelops human hearts in the second book, Only the Dead, in which the brothers each approach fratricide. And black shadows out of ancient Viking lore hover over this stunning concluding volume. Ravens that mythically represented Thought and Memory survive the harshest winters, feasting on carcasses that remind Lance of his own futile and tormented life as he struggles to uncover the secrets of his Scandinavian family. Lance's troubled niece, Chrissy, who's entangled in Duluth's goth drug scene, is a target of Andy's anger; Lance tries to save her but nonetheless uses her to solve the crime. In a dream vision out of Lance's hidden Ojibway heritage, he journeys through a symbolic death before he can balance poetry, words conveying love, and berserker rage to grasp the solution to this terrible, beautiful dilemma. Sundst%C3%B8l echoes an Old Norse saga that warns, "Thought and Memory fly over the world each day. I fear for Thought, lest he come not back, but I fear yet more for Memory." (Apr.)