Archives for posts with tag: Classics

Challenge yourself this spring! Friends of TED in Austin, TX offers a great class for those who enjoy reading classics. It’s led by an English professor of UT-Austin, and he often invites guest speakers (scholars, most!) to speak about a particular aspect of the book, its historical context, or its author. The literature is always wonderful and the discussion is lively. I learn something new every time.

This spring the class will cover several titles by George Eliot. If you’re in the Austin, TX area, read up and come on out!

 

The Ice Palace was, without a doubt, one of my favorite reads of this summer. Written by the celebrated Norwegian writer Tarjei Vesaas, it was first published in English in 1966. In this novel, Vesaas, who is both a poet and a novelist, uses sparse, poetic language to tell the story of two young girls and their powerful friendship.

Unn is an 11-year-old girl who has recently moved to a new school. Shy and reserved, she keeps to herself even though the other girls in her class have repeatedly invited her to play. But one day she finally approaches Siss, the most popular girl in the class, and invites her to her house. They have one visit together and develop an extraordinary connection. The next day, overwhelmed, Unn goes for a walk in the woods instead of going to school. When she doesn’t return home, the townspeople begin an extended search ranging over the harsh winter landscape near the town. It’s no use; Unn is not seen again.

Vesaas explores the complexities of human connection, loss and grief, and the impersonal beauty and power of nature. The real journey of the novel is Siss’s; we first follow her as she heads through the dark of a late autumn afternoon to Unn’s house for their visit. Then we watch as she realizes, incredibly, heartbreakingly, that Unn will not be seen again; that her friend, only just found, is already lost. We watch as she struggles with memory and loyalty–how best can she honor her friend? Wouldn’t it be disloyal to continue without her?

This is a novel that, though simple, rings with truth, stunningly beautiful.