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The author of Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month The Sixteen Trees of the Somme and the bestselling Norwegian Wood, Lars Mytting returns with a magnificent tale of loyalty, longing and a young woman’s quest for individual freedom in a remote Norwegian village. Set in the late nineteenth century, The Bell in the Lake opens Mytting’s historical trilogy and demonstrates once again his extraordinary gift for excavating the past and human nature with the same reverent touch.
"Love, suspense, nature and superstition are woven together in this powerful novel" MAJA LUNDE, author of The History of Bees
"Lars Mytting writes with an insight, empathy and integrity few others can match" JO NESBO
"An exquisitely atmospheric novel . . . The Bell in the Lake does what fiction promises: to steal you away to another world and ask you, if unfairly, to leave a little of your heart behind" DEREK B. MILLER, author of Norwegian by Night
"Lyrical, melancholy and with beautifully drawn characters, this pitches old beliefs against new ways with a haunting delicacy that rings true." DAILY MAIL
THE TIMES' "Historical Fiction Book of the Month"
The first in a rich historical trilogy that draws on legend, by a literary craftsman and the author of The Sixteen Trees of the Somme
Norway, 1880. Winter is hard in Butangen, a village secluded at the end of a valley. The lake has frozen, and for months the ground is too hard to bury the dead. Astrid Hekne dreams of a life beyond all this, beyond marriage, children, and working the land to the end of her days. Then Pastor Kai Schweigaard takes over the small parish, with its 700-year-old stave church carved with pagan deities. The two bells in the tower were forged by Astrid's forefather in the sixteenth century, in memory of conjoined twins Halfrid and Gunhild Hekne. They are said to hold supernatural powers.
The villagers are wary of the pastor and his resolve to do away with their centuries-old traditions, though Astrid also finds herself drawn to him. And then a stranger arrives from Dresden, with grand plans for the church itself. For headstrong Astrid this may be a provocation too far.
Talented architecture student Gerhard Schoenauer is an improbable figure in this rugged community. Astrid has never met anyone like him; he seems so different, so sensitive. She finds that she must make a choice: for her homeland and the pastor, or for an uncertain future in Germany.
Then the bells begin to ring . . .
Translated from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin
Deborah Dawkin originally trained in theatre at Drama Centre, London, before turning to translation. Her translations include The Blue Room by Hanne Orstavik and Buzz Aldrin: What Happened to You in All the Confusion by Johan Harstad, shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Awards in 2012. She is the co-translator of eight plays by Ibsen for Penguin Classics.
With the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 620 g
Dimensions: 236 x 162 x 36 mm
Mytting uses the love story to explore the clash between tradition and modernity -- Antonia Senior * The Times (Historical Fiction Book of the Month) *
Love, suspense, nature and superstition are woven together in this powerful novel. Set in spectacular surroundings where anything can happen it will give the reader a taste of something deeply and genuinely Norwegian. -- Maya Lunde * author of THE HISTORY OF BEES *
Lyrical, melancholy and with beautifully drawn characters, this pitches old beliefs against new ways with a haunting delicacy that rings true. -- Eithne Farry * Daily Mail *
An exquisitely atmospheric novel about the struggle to cherish the beauty that is right in front of us; be it a blue-dark night, the bear-colored wood of a decaying stave church, or a love that is blooming through a late-thawing snow. The Bell in the Lake does what fiction promises: to steal you away to another world and ask you, if unfairly, to leave a little of your heart behind. -- Derek B. Miller
Mytting shows how landscape and climate can define a character . . . He delivers village wisdom . . . and jagged realism. It is a fireside read with splinters. -- Christian House * Financial Times *
Mytting's cleverly crafted story heads inexorably to a moving conclusion -- Nick Rennison * Sunday Times *
Lovers of good historical fiction are in for a real treat. * Radio New Zealand *
Magnificent historical novel * Adresseavisen *
Lars Mytting's historical novel is captivating and engaging . . . With his powerful narrative style, intertwined story and detailed knowledge of carpentry, fishing and stave churches, there is reason to believe that this time he will again reach many many readers. * Dagbladet *
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“Ancient traditions and modern changes...”
The book opens with the story about how the stave church in Butangen in Norway got it’s twin bells and the bells are said to ring on their own when there is danger.
Lars Mytting is very good with descriptions of the... More
“Novel set in NORWAY at the end of the 19th century (..already one of my books of 2020!...)”
The author’s previous book – The Sixteen Trees of the Somme – was one of my absolutely favourite books of 2017, and a TripFiction Book Club read in September 2018. I therefore started reading The Bell In The Lake with... More
“The Bell In The Lake is a haunting journey to Norway, its folklore and heroic legends”
''The Hekne twins were young women when one fell ill. The thought of what this might mean - that the survivor would have to drag her sister's corpse around with her- was unbearable. So their father,... More
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