Axel

Axel In the s Bo Carpelan found mention of his great uncle Axel in a biography of the composer Jean Sibelius This friendship is the genesis of Carpelan s fictional diary of Axel s dual obsession with

  • Title: Axel
  • Author: Bo Carpelan David McDuff
  • ISBN: 9780856358081
  • Page: 279
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In the 1930s, Bo Carpelan found mention of his great uncle Axel in a biography of the composer Jean Sibelius This friendship is the genesis of Carpelan s fictional diary of Axel s dual obsession with music and with a man who, unlike him, had enough confidence in his creativity to compose his own.In Carpelan s novel, set during Finland s struggle to escape Russian colonizaIn the 1930s, Bo Carpelan found mention of his great uncle Axel in a biography of the composer Jean Sibelius This friendship is the genesis of Carpelan s fictional diary of Axel s dual obsession with music and with a man who, unlike him, had enough confidence in his creativity to compose his own.In Carpelan s novel, set during Finland s struggle to escape Russian colonization, young Axel s life is full of melancholic introspection communicated only to his diary The diary is filled with short entries from adolescence describing antagonism toward the healthier and joyous children around him, and his embarrassment at his futile attempts to coax beauty from his violin His unrelenting disappointment and self effacement give way after actually meeting his hero Sibelius, as Axel s search for meaning and an aesthetic ideal become forever linked to the unfolding of the composer s musical genius.Reminiscent of Musil s The Man Without Qualities and Svevo s Confessions of Zeno, and packed with the same densely poetic language found in Kafka s Diaries, Carpelan s Axel explores the spiritual awakening of a young man in the context of the awakening an entire nation.

    One thought on “Axel”

    1. This is one of the finest novels I've ever read. If you accept the word "depressing" as a final argument against a work, you should avoid it. Actually this book is beyond sadness; it's a study of an utterly blighted yet somehow heroic life. An ancestor, at the turn of the century, of the Finnish author, Axel left few traces; Carpelan reconstructed his life, and this novel is his imagined diary. He was a frustrated musician who became a friend and helper of Jan Sibelius, whose portayal in this no [...]

    2. It took about 140 pgs. (of 374) before I was able to fully adapt to the mostly static (quite un-novelistic) pace of this book and to the relentless misery of the narrator's life. But the profoundly luminous and poetic prose of this tranlation from the Swedish gradually drew me toward a recognition of how a life of chronic illness, depression and social isolation might also encourage a compensatory flowering of psychic richness, sensitivity and insight. Ultimately, an extremely rewarding book; es [...]

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