cover image The House with the Blind Glass Windows

The House with the Blind Glass Windows

Herbjorg Wassmo. Seal Press (CA), $9.95 (227pp) ISBN 978-0-931188-50-3

The title of this heartbreaking tale, set in a small Norwegian town shortly after World War II, refers to the house in which young Tora and her mother, Ingrid, live. Henrik, Ingrid's husband and Tora's stepfather, personifies the evils of poverty and hunger for Tora. He also sexually abuses her. The sound of his footsteps frightens her, and the sight of his belongings terrifies her, reminding her of what Henrik inflicts on her while her mother works the night shift at a fish-packing plant. Tora also suffers because her real father was a German who deserted the Nazi occupation army but was killed before he and Ingrid could fleeher schoolmates taunt her and call her the ""German brat.'' Much of the time she dwells in a dream world where rich daddies rescue their little girls from unhappiness. Tora's despair cuts to the heart, and the fragmented prose appropriately conveys her dilemma. (October)