PERHAPS being old, Philip Larkin once surmised, "is having lighted rooms/ Inside your head, and people in them, acting." At 82, Sheldon Horowitz has all of this going on, and more, as he finds himself on the run with a traumatised six-year-old boy in a country he scarcely knows.
PERHAPS being old, Philip Larkin once surmised, \"is having lighted rooms/ Inside your head, and people in them, acting.\" At 82, Sheldon Horowitz has all of this going on, and more, as he finds himself on the run with a traumatised six-year-old boy in a country he scarcely knows.
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Norwegian by Night Derek B Miller Faber, £12.99 The Healer Antti Tuomainen Harvill Secker, £12.99 Reviewed by Russell Leadbetter
Horowitz, a New York Jew, widower, and former Marine who saw action in Korea, has not long begun a new life in Norway, courtesy of his granddaughter Rhea and her husband Lars. He is cranky and outspoken; Rhea would not be surprised to learn that he has dementia. But privately he is haunted by memories of his son Saul, Rhea's father, who followed him into the US army and was killed in Vietnam. Inside his lighted rooms he relives his days in Korea (he was a sniper there), visualises himself in Vietnam alongside Saul and his comrades, and has conversations with Bill, an old friend from his New York days. Horowitz does indeed have, as he says at one point, a rich inner life. Rhea, who suspects that her grandfather is talking increasingly to the dead, nevertheless accepts that he still has all of his powers of reasoning.
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