The black cauldron

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Dedalus, 1992 - Fiction - 363 pages
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This novel is not, however, a war novel properly speaking, but a work of magic realism which traces a series of boisterous, tragi-comic events in one of the more unusual western European societies. This novel develops into a presentation in mythical form of the conflict between life and death, goodness and evil.

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About the author (1992)

As a young man in the Faroe Islands, William Heinesen thought of a profession in art or music. His early poetry from the 1920s---he writes in Danish rather than Faroese---demonstrates keen sensitivity to the powerful sensual contrasts of nature in the Atlantic islands. In the 1930s, his elegiac and ecstatic pantheism had a strong effect on readers' social awareness. Of novels from this period, Noatun (1938) has appeared in an English translation in Great Britain. In this novel, the reader meets the vital people of a Faroese settlement bravely surviving storms, sickness, and exploitation as they struggle to establish a noatun, or new town. The Faroese people's individualism and sharp beauty are Heinesen's subjects; his strong satire, humor, and imagination have made him one of Denmark's finest prose writers. The Lost Musicians (1950) and The Kingdom of the Earth (1952) share many of the same characters, created by Heinesen to depict fantastic events in Torshavn a generation or so ago. In Heinesen's rich fantasy is an expression of the antinaturalism and antirealism that also mark the writing of the Danes Isak Dinesen and Martin A. Hansen. It is not necessary to have even heard of the Faroes to enjoy the magic of William Heinesen.

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