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The Looking-Glass Sisters

by Gøhril Gabrielsen

What a read - events in the story are shocking, even repulsive yet the words it uses to describe them are so beautiful. Sympathy rebounds from one sister to the other. Who is the victim and who the aggressor? I changed my mind frequently. Claustrophobia and isolation in lives and landscape create a dreamlike quality which lurches into nightmare. I can't say I exactly enjoyed it but it pulled me back in each time I took a break. Powerful stuff.

Extract

I stand outside the toilet door; heavy with a thousand lakes and ten thousand char, help me, jig, jig, there's no time to lose, the ice hole is about to burst, run over, cascades of water and landed fish.
'Ragna! Why have you locked the door?'
'Because I want some peace, you simpleton!'
'Yes, but I need to pee first!'
'No, I'm here right now!'
'Ragna!'
'That's exactly why I lock the door, otherwise I can't get any peace!'
The water surges and falls, surges and falls, a thousand rivers feeding the lake, which fills up, drips and gurgles and flows. I can't walk, can hardly stand, can't sit down, can't lie down. I am locked,, motionless, and if I move at all, the water will overflow and drown all life.
Translated by John Irons

Parallels

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Malone Dies by Samuel Becket
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
 

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