Thursday, November 20, 2008

87. "The Dwarf" - Par Lagerkvist


Moving from two "princes," I read about this book several years ago, but it seemed a perfect time to review it now because of the dwarf's dedication to his Prince.

The prince is unnamed, but the dwarf is named Piccoline. He is not a jester or a fool, but a general aide to the Prince (always capitalized) during what seems to be pre-Renaissance Italy. Piccoline hates women, hates sex, hates other dwarfs, hates human behavior. However, he revels in degrading (though he hates when humans act degradingly) and killing, whether it's a kitten or another dwarf.

This is a fascinating look at evil and hatred, especially self-hatred. Piccoline is 26 inches of pure malice and fury, yet he is quick-humored. Some of his statements make the reader cringe, while others make one nod and agree. His brutal analysis of human nature leaves one hell of a scar after finishing the novel.

3.75 out of 5.0 Angry Dwarfs.

***

79-87 - The Dwarf was written by a Swedish author, so I decided to discover more about the Icelandic history, including Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Greenland. Thus, I found The Sagas of Icelanders. This one is going to take a while - 751 pages.

4 comments:

Jason said...

Several years ago I read Lagerkvist's Barabbas. I remember enjoying the book, though I don't remember much of the story now. He's a good writer, as I recall. I might have to look this one up.

Pete said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Kristin, and also that I was able to point you toward it. To be honest, I don't remember much about the book since reading it for a college lit class 20+ years ago (other than my professor connecting it to Machiavelli, which is why I recommended it to you), but Lagerkvist is one of my favorite writers so I think I'll have to give the book another read. Barabbas is excellent - told from the perspective of one of the criminals pardoned during Christ's crucifixion. Like most of Lagerkvist's work, it's very sparely written but extremely thought-provoking.

Pete said...

Thanks for prompting me to re-read The Dwarf. Great book - even better than the first time I read it.

Kristin Dodge said...

Well, Pete, thank *you* for advising me to read it in the first place. ;-)

I've received emails from several other people who have enjoyed it as well. The ripple effect of literature continues to splash the shores...