Sunday, August 25, 2013

Days In The History Of Silence-Merethe Lindstrøm

Days In The History Of Silence

Merethe Lindstrøm

Other Press, Aug 27 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9781590515952

Eva the schoolteacher mother of three small children (Kirsten, Greta and Helena) let the intruder in by opening the door to his ringing the bell. Frightened by her blunder she gave him money and he left. Years have passed since the Event and the kids are adults while Eva and her physician husband Simon grow old together.

However, her fear over the last few months is that Simon has over time disengaged himself from her as he slowly stopped speaking until now he is totally silent. She looks back at other key incidents like the hiring and firing of extremely tall Marija as their housekeeper, Simon’s childhood hiding along with family from the Nazis, and her other offspring a son she gave up for adoption while concealing his existence. Eva ponders whether these ghosts or others led to Simon becoming mute or does he suffer from dementia?. Increasingly Eva feels isolated from her long time mate as she is no longer part of him and inversely he is detached from her; retired from teaching and the kids gone, she is alone even with Simon silently with her.

This is a powerful character-driven Norwegian family drama told from the viewpoint of beleaguered Eva the elderly caretaker of her silent husband. Readers will ponder the cause of Simon’s slow descent into total silence as first he used a few words like thank you before going absolute mute. Merethe Lindstrøm provides a strong philosophical tale as she makes a profound argument that the past never fully vanishes since the ghosts of yesteryear haunt the present.

Harriet Klausner

No comments: