Axel: A Novel
Northwestern University Press, 1998 - 374 sider
In the 1930s, Finnish poet Bo Carpelan found mention of his great-uncle Axel in a biography of the composer Jean Sibelius. This friendship is the genesis of Carpelan's fictional diary of Axel's dual obsession with music and with a man who, unlike him, had enough confidence in his creativity to compose his own.
In Carpelan's novel, set during Finland's struggle to escape Russian domination, young Axel's life is full of melancholic introspection communicated only to his diary. The short entries describe his adolescent antagonism toward healthier and more joyous peers, and his embarrassment at his futile attempts to coax beauty from his violin. His unrelenting disappointment and self-effacement give way after meeting his hero Sibelius, as Axel's search for meaning and an aesthetic ideal becomes forever linked to the unfolding of the composer's musical genius.
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From the Diary 1 1 19002 7 1900
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able Aino already asked Axel become breath called changed child clear closed cold coming completely dark dead death door dream empty eternal everything eyes face falling Father fear feel felt Finnish followed give gone grow hand happiness head hear heard heart heavy Helsingfors inside Janne Janne's laughed leaves letter light listen live looked morning Mother mouth move never night pain passed past perhaps person play quiet Rakel remember rise round seen sense shadows shouts silence sitting slowly smell smiling snow someone song sound standing stood stopped strange street suddenly suffering summer Symphony talk things thought took town trees tried trying turned violin voice walked wall watch whole wind window write