Ekman's central character is Skord, a magical being who is neither man nor animal.
The novel begins in the Middle Ages when Skord finds himself in a forest with no memory, no past and no language.
As he observes the behaviour of the human beings he meets in the forest, he begins to gradually to understand human civilisation and to learn their language.
Although he can pose as one of them, however, he is also able to assume the form of animals and cause things to happen simply by willing them.
Skord survives for five hundred years and lives many different lives but, despite his learning, he finds it difficult to resist the call of the forest and returns there periodically to rejoin the band of forest outlaws who live outside human society.
He will live to see the nineteenth century and the age of steam, but, by then, he will have discovered that man's supposed cultivation is in fact destructive and the most important thing in life is love - his love of a forest woman.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 488 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 04/11/1999
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099751717
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by johnbakeronline
A novel about a spiritual being living with and around humans over a period of five hundred years. Fascinating Swedish novel with a lot to say about the way we are made and how we relate to each other and the world.
Review by isabelx
After about 30 pages of the troll Skord wandering around the forest, I was extremely bored. A couple of weeks later I decided to give it another chance and it improved immediately. Maybe it was the fact that Skord started interacting with the humans who passed through the forest and learnt to understand their language so there was actually some plot to get my teeth into, or maybe I was just in the wrong mood when I started it. The most interesting parts were towards the end, when he was experimenting with alchemy.