Boutique Edition from Archipelago Books.
final work, The Hills Reply, is a flow of intensely lyrical scenes told
from the perspective of a narrator who comes of age amid the vivid beauty of
the wilds of Norway. The first sketch finds a boy, his father, and their packhorse
clearing a logging road buried in snow as their surroundings give way to a
crisis. Profound insights into human behaviour, solitude and non-verbal
communication stand up to the power and immensity of the natural world. The land
speaks to (and at times almost swallows) the central character, as he is pushed
to the edge of what a body and mind can endure.
The hypnotic pulse of Vesaas’ prose blurs the line between memory and hallucination, as it stares bravely into the unblinking eye of Nature. An unforgettable book, The Hills Reply is a visceral salute to the human spirit, to the ecstasies of wilderness, and to their tender overlapping.
Despite Tarjei Vesaas’ relative isolation, rarely travelling far from his family’s farmland, he proved to be both a masterful and prolific writer, publishing more than twenty novels and works of short fiction, several volumes of poetry, and a number of plays over the course of his lifetime. Vesaas received Gyldendal’s Endowment in 1943, the Nordic Council Prize in 1963 for The Ice Palace, and the Venice Prize in 1953 for The Winds.
Elizabeth Rokkan was a professor of English at the University of Bergen from 1904 to 1990. She has received critical acclaim for her translations of the work of Tarjei Vesaas and Cora Sandel, and was awarded the St. Olav medal for her efforts to make Norwegian literature available to English speakers.
Vesaas establishes natural presences - trees, wind, water, rocks, ice - as not just characters in their own right, but as somehow possessing more right, more reality than the human ones. -- The Guardian
A clear crystal of imagination ... a rare kind of masterpiece. -- The Telegraph
This final work by one of Norway's most significant writers of the 20th century has the abstract, colorist strangeness of Matisse's late wall hangings. What would happen if the landscape entirely superseded people (as if this doesn't happen when we die). Here's a beautiful, arresting answer. -- John Freeman