Thu, May 26

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Bok Klubb: The Bell in the Lake

Time & Location

May 26, 3:00 PM

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About the Event

The Bell in the Lake by Lars  Mytting was brought to our attention by our Seattle based Norwegian American newspaper, as well as the Viking magazine (Nov 2021, pp.24-29) we all receive as members of the Sons of Norway.  The primary focus of the novel is a 700-year-old stave church in the fictional village of of Butangen.  At the time of this story, many of these churches were being dismantled (or demolished) to make way for more modern, comfortable churches. This was the case in Butangen in 1880.  A new pastor had just arrived, and he was eager to carry out his special plan. He had recently succeeded in making a very advantageous agreement with a professor of art history at the Dresden Academy of Art. Professor Ulbricht had made an offer to buy the church and transport it to Germany. This offer could not be refused. It would provide enough money to build a new church in its stead where his parishioners would feel comfortable, especially in the bitter cold of winter. The book’s great strength is its depiction of remote village life -  a tiny world - a world away from any other - a lost world of simplicity and harshness and a stunning beauty where almost everything is within plain sight, and yet almost nothing can be seen but the obvious. There is a great deal of loving description of the stave church as the architect lovingly sketches its every angle, but even this becomes part of the suspense—what is going to happen to this church? To the "Sister Bells"?  The Bell in the Lake is an intricate story well-told by a masterful writer and is the first in a planned trilogy.