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Meeting at the Milestone [Paperback]

Sigurd Hoel

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Book Description

Dec 1 2000 EL-E-PHANT Books
In this moving and profound novel, Sigurd Hoel explores belief and traitorism through the major character's memories of the underground during World War II in Norway. At the dark center of this work are questions of why certain individuals turn against their own country, their own values, and their own "selves" so to speak. But in this weaving of fact and fiction, the faithful and the traitors are not necessarily easily distinguishable. A wonderful tale of adventure and a country's fate by the author of The Road to the World's End (Sun & Moon Press) and The Troll Circle.

Sigurd Hoel was for years an editor of the great Norwegian publishing house Gyldendal. He died in 1960.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Green Integer (Dec 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892295318
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892295316
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 463 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,414,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Hoel (1890-1960), one of Norway's most influential writers during the first half of the last century, offers a rare portrait of the WWII Norwegian Resistance movement in this new translation of his 1947 novel exploring national identity and the morality of treason. Hoel's laconic, anonymous narrator hides resistance members from the Nazis. One of his lodgers tells him a story about a mutual acquaintance of theirs, Hans Berg, who had been close friends with the narrator in high school and college but became a Nazi sympathizer. This starts the narrator off on a series of recollections tracing his own youth and his relationship with Hans Berg; a portrait of their community emerges as the narrator desperately tries to understand why some of his neighbors became Nazis while others decided to fight against them. Meanwhile, the narrator has an affair with a beguiling woman named Kari, who turns out to have Nazi ties. As one might expect, the paths that lead the characters to their political destinies are convoluted, and there are no easy moral distinctions between sympathizers and resisters. Hoel's style, in this translation, is taut and spare (though somewhat overly formal and given to the passive voice) and well suited to the wrenching subterranean psychological drama that's played out in the pages. One sometimes wishes the narrative were as taut as Hoel's sentences; it tends to linger too long over the narrator's youthful recollections, though the tension does return toward the end of the book as the political intrigue comes to a head.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool guy from Norway! April 24 2010
By Rune Rindel Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an interesting book. The form of the book is some unusual. It falls in parts which are quite stylistically diverse. In the initial part of the book the author is musing about why people become traitiors. (The book is written in the wake of WW2 in Norway, where the author apparently played a role in the resistance movement, thus a "Traitor" in the concept of the author is a person who became a nazi or supported the nazi occupation of Norway). This part of the book is written post WW2. Then comes a part of the book where the author is reminiscing about his early love encounters in the 1910-1920's. Here is a very beautiful chapter, the chapter "Kari", the passage describes quite moving how a young man and woman meet each other and spend the night together on midsummers night in Oslo, somewhere in the 1910-1920's. I think that this part definitely is among the must remarkable love accounts in northern litterature ever. Then comes a part part of the book which is fiction like, the storyteller is involved in some dramatic events in the late part of WW2, he is a resistance man, it turns out that the person who eventually betrays him is his own son. In his love encounter with Kari 20 years before, it turns out that she became pregnant with the authors child, without his knowing. Then Kari left him and married another man. This other man is one of the authors old friends and he later became a nazi, and the son (really the authors son) as well became a nazi. This part also plays with identity and consciousness, because when he first sees his son (the young nazi), he believes to see himself and also during the dramatic and painful events the divide between reality and dream is blurred, also he watches himself from outside, he watches the whole world from outside at a distance like in 1990 Paul Auster novel "The Music of Chance". In the end of the book we return to where we started, the author is musing about humans and destinies, he reveals the project of the novel: Why people become what they become? He reveals to the readers the story about the writing process. It is a project that he has tried to carry through on 3 different attempts, these different attempts are the diverse parts of the novel. But he acknowledges that he hasn't succeeded in the project, it has failed, it was too big a job for him, but the various parts of the novel documents the attempts. The novel has several aspects of metafiction, it's kind of surprising that it was already published in 1947 because it seems to have some stylistically relations to metafictional works like the work of Paul Auster which rose to prominence in the 1980's and 1990's.
5.0 out of 5 stars A pure masterpiece on treason Jan. 29 2011
By syhob - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In occupied countries most of the Resistance's actions are often directed against fellow countrymen working for the occupying power rather than the enemy forces themselves. So it was in Norway during WWII.
After the end of the occupation the narrator wonders why so many of his fellow students from the Norwegian provinces joined the enemy. An amateur scientist, he tries to establish a pattern behind their treason, but he doesn't succeed, while his investigation gives us a very convincing view of the tensions in Norwegian society before and during the war and of what it was like for the despised and poor students to come to the Norwegian metropolis (Kristiana, now: Oslo) from the isolated and deeply religious provincial towns and villages.

Dissatisfied with his lack of results the narrator at last tells more about his own life including his work in the Resistance which left him with the nickname "The Spotless" and necessitated his escape to Sweden. A reluctant and modest hero he writes about his betrayal of himself and another person before the war and about this betrayal's consequenses for himself during the war.

This is a masterpiece by a competent writer with experience from many parts and levels of Norwegian society and the Resistance as well as human insight. A student of Reich, Sigurd Hoel was very keen on psychoanalysis before WWII and spoke up against the totalitarian and authoritarian dictatorships before, under and after WWII.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Takes some effort July 24 2013
By Joyce Eriksen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Too much personal stuff to be as interesting as the facts could have made it. Good. For a read though.
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