A Nordic tales transplanted on Superior’s shores


Peter Geye in The Lighthouse Road has successfully captured, perhaps immigrated, the chill reality of Nordic life found in such stories as Knut Hamsun’s Growth of the Soil and Ib Michael’s Prince bringing them to new life in the New World.

Geye tells tales set against wilderness and sea (Lake Superior), fraught with willful living and near-sinfulness. Twined in a hidden fixating past are Odd Eide’s beginnings—orphaned near birth and raised side by side with his future lover/sister, the much older Rebekah—and his bondage to Hosea Grimm his adoptive, overbearing father (and Rebekah’s as well).

If Odd’s story is about breaking away, it is as much about making a way to live under dire and difficult circumstances. His life is both baneful and desolate. He loses an eye to a hibernating she-bear to prove to himself he is not a coward. Odd dissembles against his employer-father, taking what he will of Hosea’s ungenerous wealth, and insists on the impossible: to provide for his own son a loving mother. His undaunted skill and hardihood match the unforgiving spirit of water and wilderness but are no match for twisted spirit of human want and wantonness.

The story is haunted by the same unworldliness Ib Michael brings us to on the Titanic in Prince and the same earthiness grounding all of Hamsun’s Growth of the Soil. Geye’s hard edged telling is as merciless as a Lake Superior storm, and as powerful too.

Advertisements

Tell it like it is!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s