All posts filed under: norway

The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas: Around the World in Books

I am trying to read a book from every country in the world. The last book I read was Italy: My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante. THE BOOK: The Ice Palace, by Tarjei Vesaas IN SHORT: This is an utterly strange story about the relationship between two young Norwegian girls, and the titular ice palace. THE BEST BIT: This is a crazy book. I loved it the first time I read it, and liked it the second — maybe because the absolute otherworldliness of the titular ice palace — a frozen-over waterfall, and all the mysterious caverns behind it — were no longer a surprise, and what you’re left with is a difficult little story, about two young girls: 11-year-old Unn, newly arrived in a small Norwegian community, and Siss, a popular girl at their school. They are in that weird, gray place between childhood and adolescence, and whatever bubbles up between them, scares and enraptures them both. Even an early meeting is couched in the language of a very preliminary seduction: “[Unn was] an attractive girl. … …