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Island of the Doomed

Island of the Doomed

STIG DAGERMAN
Foreword by J. M. G. LE CLÉZIO
Translated by LAURIE THOMPSON
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 352
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttc19
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  • Book Info
    Island of the Doomed
    Book Description:

    In the summer of 1946, while secluded in August Strindberg’s cabin in the Stockholm archipelago, Stig Dagerman wrote Island of the Doomed—a novel that would establish him as Sweden’s brightest literary star. To this day it is a singular work of fiction—a haunting tale that oscillates around seven castaways as they await their inevitable death on a desert island.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8043-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword: The Star of Myself
    (pp. vii-x)
    J. M. G. Le Clézio

    Here is undoubtedly one of the strangest novels of the twentieth century, written in haste and with passion, and which irresistibly evokes another book (not a novel, but where to draw the line?) published in the middle of the preceding century by a young man (of the same age, in fact) under the titleLes Chants de Maldoror. In reality, very different books, one produced by the unbearable exile of a young Uruguayan in the most typically intellectual city of his time, the other by a militant in the anarchist movement that culminates in the rise of fascism and war....

  4. THE CASTAWAYS

    • The Thirst of Dawn
      (pp. 3-32)

      Mind you, gin with a touch of meltwater from a cascading mountain stream, a few half-chewed young holly leaves, a pinch of roasted cardamom soaked in gallic acid, hastily swallowed at dawn as the car door slams shut on the last peal of laughter – ah, well –

      Lucas Egmont’s right hand crept a little way in his sleep over the rough, glittering, salt-encrusted sand, dragged by his finger tips. Was it caressing a cheek? A long worm, white, but with thread-like, closely-packed joint rings in deepest black, suddenly seemed to emerge from the lapping surf and come wriggling over the gently...

    • The Paralysis of Morning
      (pp. 33-63)

      For a moment Jimmie Baaz thought his paralysis had loosened its grip, his hips became supple and the dull pain abated, his legs bent once more after years of stiffness, he wanted to run away, and he could do so once again. He flung back the canvas and then thought he could hear the stimulating reveille of a drum as his feet thudded quickly and regularly on the hard morning-sand. My God but he felt jubilant! The air was mild and cool at the same time, still hard after the chill of night, and closed in like leaves around his...

    • The Hunger of Day
      (pp. 64-94)

      How did day come to the island? Ah, there is plenty to say about that. First of all a bow looked as if it were rising from the eastern horizon, horseshoe-like, coated with silver on its outer edge; it pressed up gently against the sun, framing it for a moment like a bucolic triumphal arch, then shot off at reckless speed in well-practised loops across the sky, over everyone’s head, as far as the opposite horizon, and then seemed to give way to some unknown pressure and fall towards the sea. Eddies appeared here and there in the morning-blue water,...

    • The Sorrow of Sunset
      (pp. 95-124)

      It was at sunset one day when Madame killed an iguana. She had a stone in one hand, and when she heard the rustling in the grass, she stopped and waited, without a sound. When the animal emerged out of the gloom, she was frightened at first by its size: she hadn’t intended to kill such a big iguana, but with the aid of the stone she soon had it over on its back before it could bite her or run away. Once she’d killed the iguana with the stone, she turned it over on to its belly again, so...

    • The Obedience of Twilight
      (pp. 125-153)

      When twilight fell, Boy Larus, the airman, liked to stand on the highest cliff; only the breeze penetrated that far, and the spot was concealed by undergrowth which was just turning deep blue as silence engulfed one in wave after massive wave. The wound in his groin was getting worse every day, he could feel a nagging shooting pain all the time, as if there were two small animals with sharp teeth, each one gnawing away at one of his testicles and working its way further and further in by the hour. He ran his hand carefully over the wounds,...

    • The Longing of Evening
      (pp. 154-184)

      No, obviously, there was no evening on the island. After the brief, green twilight, night fell like a weary snake gliding down over its rock and everything became pitch black. Well, the stars could sometimes serve to guide anyone who really had to go for a walk, as they sent small, thin, fragile shafts of light falling almost like puffs of breath through space; unsure of themselves and seemingly unwilling to arrive at their destination, they emphasized the stubborn and bitter stringency of the darkness in its role as night, hopeless night, eternal night. For a while, you could get...

    • The Fires of Night
      (pp. 185-206)

      Now the fire is flickering brightly on the beach. The tide is sliding gently in over the sand, and the fire is reflected in the water. But the night has many fires. In Verdisse, the camp fire burned until dawn, the horses shivered in their nakedness, and a giant had slung a necklace of fire over the plain. Then, the stallions snorted loudly just before the explosion came. But the night has many fires. Petrol over the bodies, frozen stiff and breaking like twigs, and then the fires sinking slowly through the ice, leaving behind eighteen graves in Lake Tibirsik...

  5. THE STRUGGLE OVER THE LION
    (pp. 209-338)

    He must have suddenly acquired the vacant look of a murderer or a drunk, because everybody starts staring at him, leaning forward over the empty water keg, or so he thinks, and their movements betray both menace and fear. Somebody has woken them up by screaming, and the shock at being so rudely awakened is still flitting about their faces. Worried stiff, he moves a few steps to one side so that the sun won’t expose him even more. The captain slowly turns his hip to the right, towards him, and his clenched fist hovers just below it, as if...

  6. Back Matter
    (pp. 339-339)