A really good psychological novel about Mattis, a mentally disabled man, and his difficulties to understand the world. I think this is a masterly written book describing love and care within a small family, but also the lack of connection between human beings. Vesaas uses many symbols and signs from nature, creating a mysterious vibe throughout the book. The main character Mattis is not like everyone else, and he can be difficult to “be around”, as he demands a lot of attention from his sister Hege. I read this book back in my early twenties, and I enjoy how Vesaas manage to go deep into the mind of a person who clearly thinks and acts very differently from most people. It gave me a greater respect for humans who stand out from the crowd, and that there are many ways to see and interpret the world and the events that take place around us. Tarjei Vesaas (1897-1970) wrote many novels, plays and poems, but this book is considered his magnum opus.
“Mattis doesn’t understand much about the world. He doesn’t understand why others call him simple. Or why his sister Hege, who has cared for him in their peaceful lakeside cottage since they were young, gets so frustrated. But he knows that the woodcock which starts to fly over their house every day is a sign something is about to change. And when Hege falls in love, disrupting their familiar existence and unbalancing his thoughts, he decides he must face his fate.”