Posted by: Janet | March 16, 2008

The Lost Musicians

Not so long ago I was in Waterstone’s in Hampstead in London and a book titled The Lost Musicians caught my eye.  The old adage, you can’t tell a book by its cover, now comes to mind.  The cover was very striking, but the contents turned out to be were even more rewarding.

the-lost-musicians-smaller-size.jpg  with this cover I expected the book to be about some sort of music group. 

 The author, William Heinesen, was from the Faroe Islands, but he wrote in Danish to appeal to a wider audience.  In addition to being a novelist, he was also a poet, a painter, and a composer. 

The setting for The Lost Musicians is Torshavn, the capital of the Faroes.  The fact that his main characters are musicians, among other things, is only one aspect of the story.   Rather, it is more a social study of the people living in this remote town in the far North.  I liked this book a lot.  The setting was unusual and yet the characters were universal.   To quote from the introduction, this novel has music at its heart but at the same time it is a wonderful mixture of caricature, satire and poetry.  And on a higher plane, it represents the cosmic struggle between life-asserting and life-denying forces.

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