Another holiday; another Selma Lagerlöf for the Resident IT Consultant to read. Though it has to be said that he had to take a break, because it wasn’t always all that pleasant. I know that sounds unkind, but as you will see from his review below, Banished was a bit of a mouthful, and even Selma suffered.
“Banished is the latest product of Norvik Press’s initiative to publish new translations of the work of Selma Lagerlöf. Bannlyst (its Swedish title) was originally published in 1918 and first appeared in English translation (as The Outcast), in 1922. This edition is translated by Linda Schenck, translator of Lagerlöf’s Löwensköld Ring trilogy and five of Kerstin Ekman’s novels.
Lagerlöf, the first female winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1909, was a committed feminist and pacifist and was horrified by the violence of the First World War. After personally having seen the bodies of thousands of dead soldiers floating in the sea after the Battle of Jutland she was inspired to write a novel that explores the double standard that allows people to hold death sacrosanct and yet neglects the sanctity of life.
Banished tells the story of Sven Elversson, a member of a failed polar expedition on which the survivors are forced the eat the flesh of one of their comrades in order to avoid perishing. He is a brave and kind man but is rejected by those around him and banished from their company. Banished is a thought-provoking tale of love, death and survival that grapples with moral dilemmas as relevant today as they were a century ago.
By the end all those who have found Sven reprehensible realize that human life is worth far more than human death and that during the ongoing war the same people who vilified an explorer for doing what he had to do to survive were prepared to disregard daily mass murders and to glorify those who carry them out.”
The Resident IT Consultant is now recuperating with something a wee bit lighter. But I’d say, keep them coming! He – sort of – enjoys them.