It’s a rare rare book that can capture the weird heat that permeates your being when you’re in love. Movies almost never do it, or swap out subtlety for explicit and over the top renditions. This is a book of short stories with a theme, two themes in fact. One of them is “love” and the other is a particular date in 1929 when all of the stories took place. From there, they run the gamut from allegorical exposition to steamy romance to the old “so *that’s* what that was all about” twist-at-the end stories. They’re great. It’s rare that a group of stories is able to cohere as a set and yet have most of the stories stand alone as individual pieces, not as, say, chapters in a book.
You read these tales and there is a familiar heat behind the ears, you know what these characters are going through and how tough their trials must be for them. So complex, so moving and so readable, even though this collection was translated from the original Danish. The yearning of his characters is palpable and yet the whole scenario is removed just a little bit in time and space so that they also feel somewhat ethereal.