the castle in the pyrenees by Jostein Gaarder

Jostein Gaarder is a Norwegian intellectual having studied theology at Oslo university and for a short time taught philosophy and in recent years has done a lot of human rights activism in the 90’s he had a runaway success with Sophie’s world his book about Sophie discovering the world and philosophy by a selection of letters ,now in this his latest novel to be translated in to english ,he returns to that style in a way but embracing modern form of e mails this time the two main characters are two lovers that have spent time apart for 30 years or have they ? .they discuss their relationship and what has happened in the intervening years of the lives of Steinn and Solrunn ,as they talk they discover each others take on why they spilt and spent the time apart before this cyberspace reconnection .There are many questions fired between the pairs as they chat away the title comes via the mention of a painting by Magiritte of a huge castle floating in the sky like an image from a film by Hayao Miyazki . this picture is mentioned in the book ,the book is set mainly in and around Norway the lakes and Oslo as the couple remember where they went and at times visits afterwards to the same places with new partners or alone .

You haven’t changed much .And that’s good too ,Steinn .There’s something boyish and fresh about your stubbornness.But perhaps your ‘re blind .Perhaps you’re narrow-minded and short-sighted .

  Do you remember that Magritte picture of a huge lump of rock floating above the ground – I think it had a small castle on top .You can’t have forgotten that picture .

they remember the castle in the pryenees picture that gave the book its title .

Well as ever with Jostein Gaarder you are left with more questions than answers after reading the book ,he has a wonderful way of making you think of what if ,how about that ,it struck a chord with my own life ,have spent time in the past questioning past relationships to see if I could untangle what went wrong or as is suggest in parts in the book are we on some pre ordained path with a greater force guiding us ? .This is a book I ll reread at some point to get the full measure and see if after a passage of time it has the same effect on me .This is an example of where metafiction tricks work loads small stories with in the complete story .If you loved his other books this is right up there with them and is also a great introduction to his work the book has been translated by James Anderson .


Duck billed platypus because as a kid I went whats that when I saw pictures and you do the same with the book question what we are and where we are ?


July 2010


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