• The Ice Palace

From the author of The Birds and The Boat in the Evening comes a novel of startling beauty, widely considered to be Vesaas's masterpiece.

Eleven-year-old Siss and Unn are new friends – so new that they have spent only one whole evening in each other's company. But so profound is this bond that when Unn inexplicably disappears Siss's world is shattered. Siss's struggle with her fidelity to the memory of her friend and Unn's fatal exploration of the strange and terrifying frozen waterfall known as the ice palace are described in prose of a lyrical economy that ranks among the most memorable achievements of modern literature.

Tarjei Vesaas is regarded as one of the finest writers ever to have come out of Scandinavia – he is notable for having been nominated for the Nobel Prize three times and has been considered one of the greatest prose stylists never to have won. Nevertheless, his reputation is secure and growing all the time. Peter Owen has long considered The Ice Palace to be the greatest work ever to have come from his publishing house, which boasts seven Nobel Prize winners on its list. Credit for this achievement must be shared between Tarjei Vesaas and The Ice Palace's exemplary translator, Elizabeth Rokkan.

‘How simple this novel is. How subtle. How strong. How unlike any other. It is unique. It is unforgettable. It is extraordinary.’ — Doris Lessing, Independent
‘It is hard to do justice to The Ice Palace . . . The narrative is urgent, the descriptions relentlessly beautiful, the meaning as powerful as the ice piling up on the lake.’ — The Times
'If I had to choose a book I’m surprised isn’t the most famous book in the world it might be The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas.' – Max Porter
‘Vesaas’s laconic sentences are as cold and simple as ice — and as fantastic.’ — Daily Telegraph
‘Believable and haunting . . . this beautiful and neo-prose poem is as sombre and Scandinavian as a Bergman film . . . the evocation of rime, frost and cracking ice have so eternal a quality that the mention of a passing car comes almost as a shock.’ — Nova
‘Austere poetical clarity, stoical wisdom and a vivid response to nature’ — Times Literary Supplement


TARJEI VESAAS was born in 1897 in the remote rural Telemark district of Norway, where he grew up and spent most of his life. His first book appeared in 1923, and he subsequently published several novels, volumes of poetry and short stories. His novel The Ice Palace was awarded the Nordic Council Literature Prize, the most important Scandinavian literary award. He was three times a Nobel Prize candidate. His work has been published in many countries. He died in 1970.
Bibliographic Data
Date Published 5th August 2009
ISBN Number 9780720613292
Pages 176

The Ice Palace

  • £9.99


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Tags: Vessas, Norwegian writing, Norway, the birds, poetry, fiction in translation, Scandinavian literature, Scandinavian, Rokkan, Nobel Prize, vesaas, tarjei vesaas