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January 02, 2011




Page: 24/38

Home > 2011 Issues > January 02, 2011

Innovative use of e-mail to weave a story
By Tej N Dhar

The Castle in the Pyrenees by Jostein Gaarder; Trans. James Anderson; Weidenfeld and Nicolson, Pp 350 (HB), Rs 595.00

GAARDER is a writer of novels, including the celebrated Sophie’s Choice, stories, and children’s books. His new novel The Castle in the Pyrenees makes innovative use of e-mailing to weave a love story with a strong intellectual content.

Solrun and Steinn write short and long e-mails to each other, after a lapse of thirty years, which recreate the intimate nature of their past relationship and also elaborate their contrasting views about the place of human consciousness in the universe. Their intensely lived years of love and concern for each other had ended abruptly because of an incident that is mentioned in the early parts of the novel but revealed fully by Solrun only towards its end. During one of their travels, their car had hit and killed a woman. When soon after this they saw her again in a remote location and they understood differently what she spoke to them, they began to look at life from irreconcilable positions. Like a materialist, Steinn believes that everything in this world can be explained scientifically; like a spiritualist, Solrun believes that there is an everlasting life after the one on this earth. This causes a rupture in their relationship and their eventual separation. In spite of this, and even after thirty years of their life with new partners, they still love each other. But their planned meeting does not take place, because Solrun dies in an accident.

(Hachette India, 612/614, (6th floor) Time Tower, MG Road, Sector 28, Gurgaon-122001)




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