About Me

My photo
Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Walking Into The Night

This is the third Olaf Olafsson novel I have read (Absolution and The Journey Home are the other two). All three books feature characters who are growing old and are forced to confront incidents from their past that have long been suppressed.
Christian Benediktsson has been William Randolph Hearst's butler for twenty years. He abandoned his wife and four children in Iceland To engage in an affair with a Swedish dancer in New York City. The affair ended disastrously and financial ruin ensued. He entered a life of service at the San Simeon castle in California where he goes about his business, invisible. He sees all but no one knows him and he likes it that way: "It was as if San Simeon had been built expressly for me to lose myself in, and I managed to do so successfully for years."
When his daily duties are done Christian writes letters to his wife in Iceland that remain unsent and this is how we learn how he came to live in the rich man's California folly. He is haunted by the ghosts of the past and when he gets front page news coverage after saving the estate from a raging fire he can no longer hide from what he has done. Walking Into the Night is an elegantly written novel that has tremendous power.

No comments: