cover image The Eyes of the Rigel

The Eyes of the Rigel

Roy Jacobsen, trans. from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw. Biblioasis, $16.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-77196-475-3

Jacobsen completes his trilogy (after White Shadow) with this expressive story of a woman’s search for her lover in post-WWII Norway. In summer 1946, Ingrid Barrøy takes her infant daughter, Kaja, from their small Norwegian island in search of Kaja’s father Alexander, the former Russian prisoner of war who survived a terrible shipwreck in the previous volume. As Ingrid attempts to trace Alexander’s movements in Sweden, she persuades people to share memories of the war that most would rather forget. She stays briefly with a shopkeeper who collaborated with the Germans, then with a woman who hid Alexander on her farm. Despite being given some misdirection and told he must have died, Ingrid trudges onward, sometimes doubling back, until she meets Henrik Axelsen, who narrowly survived a harrowing winter with Alexander. When Henrik shares troubling details about Alexander, Ingrid makes a consequential choice about her search. The translators inventively capture Ingrid’s dialect (“An’ thas knew this all th’taim”) as well as the power of the tense interactions between the characters. This delicate account of yearning perfectly caps the strong series. (Apr.)