One example of relevant Norwegian literature:
In the novel 'Is-slottet' the Norwegian writer Tarjei Vesaas is just
as engaged in human isolation and alienation as Pink Floyd.
The story describes two young girls (appr. 12 years), Unn and Siss.
Even if Unn is the 'Pinky' of the novel, she is not the main person.
Unn's father disappeared some time after he had finished his 'fathering
business', leaving his woman and girl-child in a small Norwegian rural
community, probably some time during the 50s.
An extract from the novel:
"(looking in the family album) - And that's my father, Unn said. - It
was a pretty ordinary young boy and a car. Very much alike Unn, too.
- It's his own car, Unn said.
Siss asked a bit worried:
- Where is he now?
Unn answered rather reluctantly:
- I don't know. I don't mind.
- I have never seen him, don't you remember?"
('All in all it was just a' - 'snapshot in the family album')
Obviously this is one of the 'bricks' in Unn's life.
There are lots of other ones, too, forcing her into her
'ice castle', which is similar to Pinky's wall, and also the title,
and leading motif of the novel. 'Is-slottet' means 'The Ice Castle'
I'm not quite sure if that's the English title.
I'll check it!
Unn's growing isolation and final mental 'death' is symbolized by the
'Ice castle'. In wintertime in Norway mother nature produces a multitude
of ice castles. Waterfalls all over the country will gradually build up
enormous 'castles' of bluish, greenish ice in the low temperatures.
Occationally it might be possible (but dangerous!) to climb into 'caves'
and holes in the ice, and this is the symbolic destiny of Unn.
She has tried to open her own self to Siss, and doesn't dare to meet her again.
She finishes her 'wall' and freezes to death 'cold as a razor blade' inside
her mental fortress.
Symbolically, she skips school a cold winter day, goes to a waterfall and enters
its 'Ice Castle'. She forces herself through several 'rooms', and finally she
freezes to death in the seventh (and last one) of the 'rooms'.
From this day on Unn's friend, Siss, has to undergo a severe ordeal. She is
influenced by the personality and fate of Unn, and is more or less bound to the
same path as Unn followed.
However, Siss is saved from her growing alienation by the engagement of her
parents, her friends, and the entire local community. In a way she is saved by
the real love and engagement from people around her.
This is something Unn and Pinky never experienced, or took the chance to
I might carry on and on and on, but I'll stop now, and leave it for you to
compare the two masterpieces of 'Is-slottet' and 'The Wall'.
Please, send your contributions - preferably, but not necessarily, in English.
(Why don't some of you check out 'The Marriages between Zones Three, Four and Five'
by Doris Lessing? I'd really like to get some comments on that novel!)
Jon K. Moller (updated 22/2-98) Visited by