bertramonline > readings

Art Garfunkel famously keeps track of the books he has read since 1968. As of writing this, the count is 1327 (he does not add a review). I thought I could do something similar but I am adding short reviews of books as I read them, and I rake my brain over what I read over the last decades. This is, evidently, a work-in-progress: there are 409 reviews so far. Titles marked with a * are particular favorites.


Roy Jacobsen: The Unseen  *

Norwegian trilogy (De usynlige, Hvitt hav, Rigels øyne), read in Danish (and apparently only volume one in English so far). Not a lot happens, except that everything happens. Set on a small, wind-swept and poor island off the coast of Nothern Norway in the years before, under, and after WWII. A society almost outside the modern world, and — interestingly — inhabited by strong and strong-willed women as the men tend to disappear and die on the ocean. Wonderful, and I was reminded of this from Hugh MacDiarmid’s poem ‘Island Funeral’: “While this thing lasted / It was pure and very strong.” A poem that is also about a seemingly uneventful life on a remote island, but a life that has a deeper meaning than we can easily understand today.