The Liar

By Martin A Hansen

"The Liar is one of Danish novelist Martin A. Hansen's best known and popular fictions. Published in 1950, the story, which takes place shortly after World War II, is told in the first person and concerns the inhabitants of a tiny island in the Danish archipelago"--


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Book Information

Publisher: New York Review of Books
Publish Date: 04/04/2023
Pages: 248
ISBN-13: 9781681377186
ISBN-10: 1681377187
Language: English

What We're Saying

November 14, 2023

November 14, 2023

By Porchlight


Full Description

Delicately attuned to the complexities of both the natural world and human psychology, this potent classic of twentieth-century Danish literature is narrated by an isolated schoolteacher stuck in a mire of loneliness, deception, and spiritual despair. One of the greatest works of modern Scandinavian fiction, The Liar tells the story of Johannes Lye, a teacher and parish clerk on tiny Sand Island off the coast of Denmark, a place that in winter is entirely cut off from the world at large by ice. It is winter when the book begins, and for years now Johannes has lived alone, even as he nurses a secret passion for Annemari, a former pupil. Annemari is engaged to a local man, Olaf, who has left the island but is due to return come spring. She is also being courted by a young engineer from the mainland. Such are the chief players in a compact drama, recorded in Johannes's ironic, self-lacerating, and anything but reliable diary. Martin A. Hansen's novel beautifully evokes the stark landscape of Sand Island and the immemorial circuit of the seasons as well as the mysterious passage of time in the human heart, all the while proceeding to a supremely suspenseful conclusion.

About the Author

Martin A. Hansen (1909-1955) was a Danish writer of essays, novels, and short stories known for his participation in the Danish resistance movement during World War II. Born to a tenant farmer, Hansen grew up working as a farmhand and went on to train as a teacher. During the German occupation of Denmark, he began writing and eventually editing articles in the underground publication People and Freedom.

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