In his masterpiece Lagerkvist tells a story of the man who is pardoned instead of Christ, the thief and ultimate sinner Barabbas. He is set free but spends the rest of his life trying to uderstand why he was freed instead of Christ. He becomes gradually aware of greater forces guiding his life but he can only say "I want to believe". He rejects Christians and their dogma because they are hypocrites and not willing to accept him. In the final chapter Barabbas is crucified and, as death approaches, he says: "To thee I deliver up my soul". Lagerkvist questions the great thruth of the Bible and captures the eternal struggle of mankind in his brilliant work. Barabbas' inner conflict is not only his, but is the conflict of every man on Earth, of the whole mankind crucified between faith and nihilism. This is undoubtely the greatest book ever written.
/Marko, Serbia & Montenegro
An epic masterpiece.
Evening Land (Aftonland)
L's poems speak of man's loneliness, his ambivalence between his doubt of the existance of a God and his wish to believe, despite all. Why does man keep calling upon a God who doesn't exist, he asks. There is no-one to hear the call, but why does the call persist? In this collection of poetry, Lagerkvist speaks of the individual life, the difficulties of accepting the beauty, pain and brevity of your own life. The poems deal with the insignificance on a larger scale of each singular life, and of the continuity of LIFE in a larger sense. I find beauty in the following lines:
One day you will be one of those who lived a long time ago./
The earth will remember you the way/
it remembers the grass and the forests,/
The withering leaf./
The way the soil remembers/
And the way the mountains remember the winds./
Your peace shall be endless like the sea.
(My translation from the Swedish)
/Ulla Natterqvist Hamilton, United States
The Dwarf (Dvärgen)
Unique lack of sentiment, hence an abiding realism seemingly inherent to Scandinavian artistic endeavour.
/Timothy M., Australia
The Hangman (Bödeln)
The book has two, quite different, parts. The first one is set in a medieval tavern where the hangman drinks his beer, and all other people present are at the same time fascinated and fearful of his figure, and tell stories about God, the Evil and the hangman, involved in mystery and carefulness. I'd say his writing in this first part is poetry in prose. The second part is set to the early 20th century, when nazism and fascism were amassing followers, and is a stark critic of the intolerant and violent regimes and behaviors in society, which ends with a long monologue by the hangman uniting both parts and going even deeper on the questions of life and death and God and evil that are present in all of Lagerkvist's work.
/João Felipe, Brazil
To cite this page
MLA style: "Book Tips - Visitors Recommend". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 2 Sep 2014. <http://www.nobelprize.org/educational/literature/books/comments.php?id=622&nextid=579&name=Lagerkvist+P%E4r+Fabian>
On 27 November 1895 Alfred Nobel signed his last will in Paris.
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