BOOK REVIEW / In Brief: Light - Torgny Lindgren, trs Tom Geddes: Harvill, pounds 14.99

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The Independent Culture
Plague novels (Defoe, Camus) signal an investigation into the plight of Mankind, the Great Sickness symbolising apparently unmerited evil which overwhelms ordinary citizens and confronts them with the great questions of destiny, justice and Providence. Light, written with as serious an intent as La Peste, cites underpopulation as the major problem caused by plague: when the tribal elders are gone, how are those who remain in the village of Kadis - initially only seven souls - to retain their orderly existence? The God of Kadis is a ceremonial and ritualistic concept too remote for either criticism or appeal. Lindgren's interest centres instead on the human conflict between Onde, the adaptable entrepreneur, and Konik who asserts that men cannot flourish without a known moral order to which they give unquestioning allegiance. Written in admirably unadorned prose, and with characters of Biblical spareness, this superficially unassuming book haunts the memory.