Cover image for The dark of summer
The dark of summer
Linklater, Eric, 1899-1974.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Edinburgh : Canongate, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 238 pages ; 20 cm.
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In the early years of World War II, an army officer is sent to the Faroe Islands to investigate rumours of collaboration with the Nazi regime in Norway. What he finds changes lives, not least his own, and the characters become haunted by a sense of guilt and betrayal.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Originally published in the U.K. in 1957, this spiritually sensitive novel of wartime regret spans many years, culminating in a strangely hatched romance. Ex-army officer Tony Chisholm is walking with his wife, Gudrun, near his home in the Scottish Shetland Islands in the 1950s when he spots a dead body half-buried in the peat. The sight instantly triggers a series of memories. Leaping back in time to 1941, the narrative describes how Chisholm is sent to the Faroe Islands (north of the Shetlands) to investigate rumors of Nazi collaboration. After discovering that two drunken Scandinavian seamen are keeping the frozen corpse of a Nazi sympathizer in their icehouse, Chisholm goes on the trail of Mungo Wishart, a wealthy Shetland Islands landowner who was seen conversing with the now-frozen collaborator. The sea journey to Wishart's remote home is rough and treacherous. At its end, Chisholm is lovingly cared for by Wishart's wife and his young son and daughter, Olaf and Gudrun. Although Wishart reveals nothing during his interrogation, he commits suicide shortly after Chisholm's departure from Shetland, tantamount to a confession. Chisholm goes on to see action in WWII and the Korean War, and in Korea he encounters Olaf again, now a young soldier; fate later reunites him with Gudrun, whom he eventually marries. The author's rich sense of atmosphere and psychological landscape gives the novel an impressive power, which flags only when Linklater pushes through the war years so quickly that the emotional effect of battle experiences--the loss of Chisholm's arm, his daily witness of death--is ignored. But Linklater gracefully blends literary prose and a tightly crafted plot to tell a haunting story of guilt and redemption. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved