The late Norwegian writer Vesaas (1897-1970) tells a simple yet profoundly stirring story of friendship, coming of age and death in a remote Norwegian village. The main narrator is Siss, a popular girl who befriends Unn, an orphan and a newcomer to the town. Drawn to each other despite their differences, they experience an almost mystical sense of unityp. 19 , but their tie is cut the next day when Unn, while playing alone, disappears into a "green ice palace" formed from a waterfall's frozen trickles of water. Siss feels haunted by the unspoken secrets they shared and struggles to come to terms with her friend's death as her own childhood vanishes. Vesaas's ( Birds ) understanding of child psychology gives his young characters emotional depth and strength. The growing, changing protagonists and the eerie, primeval surroundings are flawlessly revealed in lyrical prose and metaphors, as illustrated by Siss's observation as she takes a walk with Unn's aunt: "Across the imperfect screen of their eyes there glided tall trees that seemed to stretch out their arms in admonition; and pitch-black, stooping-shouldered rocks, moving like clenched fists towards their foreheads."
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