Sometimes you come across a book that you feel to be like a friend. The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting is such a book for me. I feel especially lucky, as I find myself reading two especially good books in a row! I mean I also liked Art Malik reading The Beekepeer of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri for me just recently! I suppose I should say blessed in keeping with the spiritual line of Mytting’s book. Indeed I was pulled in by the church on the cover, a pastor in a key role and especially as all this was very close in time and place to a very dear book, Pacific Viking by Barnaby Allen.
Lars Mytting has constructed the story well and one can feel the research that has gone into the making of the book. Two men and one girl is hardly unusual, but the story line makes it all far from usual. The way Mytting writes, also pulls one into the times past described, is just wonderful. Indeed there is a sadness, when the book comes to an inevitable end, as all good books do for a reader. What I can say is, that I will be reading the next book, as this is the first of a trilogy. This first book The Bell in the Lake will definately get five stars from me, even if I doubted it a bit in the middle of the book and had to be prepared to jump here and there in time, even future, throughout the book.
The Bell in the Lake is a historical fiction. Lars Mytting is using local legends and his knowlededge of building and wood to create his story. I am not a Norwegian woman, but looking at Lars Mytting’s wood piles gives me a feeling, that he is a careful man and that he is not afraid of hard work. Also I would go as far as to say, that he likes to design things in a creative and inspirational way. It is the fruit of these, that the reader reaps in The Bell in the Lake.
There are spiritual elements as well as cultural issues included in the book. He likes to deal with the everyday elements of culture as well as the big questions. Especially the notion how death and the closeness in the process of mourning has been taken away from the mourners, hit close to home with me. Something that our own time has even managed to make into laws that guide us. Yes, there is indeed some practical purpose and idea to this, but still try to see your loved one, once the mortuary doors have closed for the night, and you understand what I mean. As to art, the painting descriptions are such, that they instill an urge to see paintings in museums and then see more museums and more paintings. And yes, we might even consider the tongue in cheek treatment of cultural epoks amidst battle scenes. Culture can be seen in so many ways, or then, even seen without seeing.
Portal is important in The Bell in The Lake along with stave churches and church bells, of course. A portal seems to have been important through the ages. Something we now might like to pay more attention to. A portal could be seen as taking us into an other world like the sanctitity of a church. A book could be also seen as something, that takes the reader into other worlds and other times.