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Walking into the Night : A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 28, 2003
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The pale moon had risen above the ragged mountains."
Which man would abandon his lovely wife and four children in Iceland to travel to America without a cold shoulder or quarrel?
And which man having left his homeland will start a new affair with an American-Swede actress, treat her shoddily for no real reason except for the fact that he didn't give a hang about anyone but himself? That person is none other than Christian Benediktsson, the main character of this novel.
After leaving his family in Iceland, Christian Benediktsson becomes involved in a tragic affair in New York with Klara an actress. As the relationship comes to an end, Christian's funds begin to dwindle, forcing him to take on small jobs, waiting tables and whatever else. He is waiting tables at a big hotel when he is noted by William Randolph Hearst for his competence and attentiveness. He offers him a job which he readily accepts leaving New York for California to become butler to Hearst and Marion Davis, his good friend.
He enjoys his years working at San Simeon, the massive and lavish estate in California where Hearst entertains celebrities and politicians regularly. He is Hearst's second man and in charge of all activities at San Simeon, however large or small. Nothing can happen without Christain's involvement and he is well respected in the circles that flaunt this wealthy dwelling place.
But Christian has his moments too, and it is only when settled at San Simeon that he becomes haunted by his past life.Read more ›
The reader quickly sees innumerable parallels between the lives of Christian and Hearst, both in their love affairs and in their financial affairs, the differences being those of scale. Both hope to create new personal worlds in San Simeon. Olafsson shows through the symbolism and nature imagery which permeate the book, however, that this desire runs counter to nature, and he implies that no matter how much control Hearst may try to exert over the outside world as he builds his castle, that he will be unable to overcome the natural desolation of its gravelly soil and dry creek beds.
Christian's life, too, is closely linked with nature. He abhors the confinement of Hearst's zoo animals and once rescued and released a mouse from inside the house. He is particularly sensitive to birds, and the bird imagery which fills the book is associated with old memories and freedom. Yet despite his apparent romantic empathy with the birds, Christian cannot overcome his personal nature and his inborn selfishness. When he wants to draw a hawk, he tells us "I shot it yesterday.Read more ›
Very loosely based (via a series of journals and letters that came into the author's possession) on Hearst's real-life butler, the story is peopled with real people and narrates real events in their lives, all seen thru the remorseful eyes of the butler.
Excellent, excellent, excellent...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love it. Moving, interesting, charming in a quiet & understated kind of way. Olaf Olafsson is one of my favorite authors.Published 1 month ago by Christine
Admittedly a slow novel, the tension does begin to increase towards the end as readers want to know if Christian Benediktsson will indeed send to his wife the accumulation of... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Andrea Broomfield
The writing is crafted, but I walked away in the end feeling the story had no impact. It tries to be one of those deep, convoluted confessions from unreliable first-person... Read morePublished 17 months ago by L. Wentworth
The author is a poet telling a good story. A delightful reading, just as good as his other books ( I have read them all ).
This book was a good read and I learned a lot about Iceland and the Hearsts.. I have enjoyed all of the books I have read by this author..Published on September 6, 2012 by Catherine E. Battle
Since reading the author's brilliant The Journey Home, I've wanted to read more from him; this was no disappointment. Read morePublished on June 16, 2008 by Jean Sue Libkind