The Bell in the Lake
by Lars Mytting, Norway,
best selling author of Norwegian Wood.
Translated from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin.
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 until the end of her days. Then Pastor Kai Schweigaard takes over the small parish, and its seven-hundred-year old stave church with its gorgeous carvings of dragons and pagan deities and its mystical bells. The church's twin bells were forged by Astrid's forefather in the sixteenth century, in memory of twins Halfrid and Gunhild Hekne, and are said to hold supernatural powers and to ring on their own in times of danger.
The new pastor soon reveals some bold and far-reaching plans for the old stave church that houses the bells, and although Astrid is drawn to him, this may be a provocation too far. Then architect Gerhard Schönauer arrives from Dresden and everything about him is elegant, different, and compelling. And the bells begin to toll...
Hardcover, 394pp. 2018/2020