In this second book of Roy Jacobsen’s Barrøy trilogy, it is World War II and the Nazi’s have invaded Norway. The small island of Barrøy, the home of Ingrid’s family, has been evacuated. Ingrid has been living on the main island working in the canning factory, and her family is dispersed.
One day Ingrid defies the Germans and gets on a boat to row back to Barrøy. She goes into her family home without paying much attention to signs that someone has been in it, and it’s as if her brain refuses to see at first that there are dead bodies on the shore. A German ship carrying Russian prisoners has been bombed. She spends a day covering and burying bodies but eventually finds one man alive—a Russian, badly injured, up in the loft of the house.
Ingrid takes care of him but also must keep him safe from the Germans, who are observing her from the main island. She also is trying to bring the farm back into shape and fish to feed them.
The novel takes us to the end of the war, during which Ingrid has a difficult time.
Jacobsen tells this story with his usual pure, spare prose, a moving novel about human transcendence over great difficulty. I just love this series.