The Silence | Buy Now
Translated by Esther Greenleaf Mürer
ISBN-10: 1870041453 ISBN-13: 9781870041454
201 pages RRP £10.95 paperback 2000 Series B No. 28
This volume marks the apex and the culmination of the provocative Norwegian author Jens Bjørneboe's investigations into the nature of evil. Here the study moves to a broader canvas than in earlier works; the enquiring narrator explores not just European history, but the crimes committed by Europeans against the rest of humanity in the name of expansion and conquest. Cortez' destruction of the Aztec empire and Pisarro's of the Incas were crimes of genocide comparable with Hitler's against the Jews, and Columbus' glorious discovery of America becomes simply an act of colonialism: "The Indians had discovered America long before I came." His realization of European culpability and anticipation of the blood-bath that will ensue when the Third World claims its rightful share of the world's riches lead the narrator into a long plunge into the tunnel of depression, from which he emerges in a cathartic realization that human beings have not only an unfathomable capacity for evil, but also an immeasurable capacity for good; man is the destroyer of all things, but also the renewer of all things. The 25 years which have passed since this novel was first published have not diminished its relevance and its urgency.
This is the third volume of a series of three free-standing novels by one of Norway's most controversial and vilified authors, again translated by Bjørneboe's long-time translator Esther Mürer, whose translation "resounds with Bjørneboe's 'Florentine laughter,' maintaining a very fine line between madness and clarity, blind rebellion and pointed critique" (Anne Sabo).