Walking Into the Night

Walking Into the Night

Book - 2003
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Serving as butler at William Randolph Hearst's San Simeon estate, Christian Benediktsson spends his days meeting the demands of running a grand mansion and reflecting on his former life as a man who abandoned his wife and children in Iceland for a New York actress.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2003
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780375422546
0375422544
Branch Call Number: F Ola

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maipenrai
Jul 04, 2020

On the last page of the story of Christian ( Kristjan ) Benediktsson William Randolph Hearst says: "We all have to believe that we're decent. No matter what we have to believe that. For there are no innocents; life is full of mysteries and mistakes." First of all this is am amazing statement attributed to an extremely ruthless and controlling man. He calls Christian a good man. Hearst is, however, unaware of Christian's history of deserting his wife and four children and depriving them of a considerable amount of money. I believe the theme of the book is the personal struggle to live with his duality. Two ways in which the author demonstrates this endeavor appears in the actual changes in two elements of the writing. The first is the protagonist's name which switches from Christian and Kristjan, sometimes dependent on setting ( Iceland vs New York ) or speaker. The other changeable feature of the writing is the change from first person to third person narration. Sometimes Chistian speaks as I; at other times an unknown third party speaks of he or him. I did not notice the latter change in viewpoint until about half way through the book. I tried to see when the omniscient third party took over versus Christian speaking as I, but I could not detect a clear difference in the story line of the chapters. Usually when the main character is not "decent", it is difficult to "like". In addition to being indecent, Kristjan is also too much of a coward to allow anyone to know his secrets, acknowledge his failures and apologize for his betrayals. Yet Christian is not simply a villain. In many ways he is decent, helpful, and loyal in his hiding place at San Simeon. It is a compliment to the skill of author that he creates a character who is sufficiently complex that the reader cannot decide from chapter to chapter whether to admire or despise Kristjan. This is an eminently readable book. Christian and his life are full of mysteries and mistakes. Kristi & Abby Tabby

seabrookv Jul 09, 2013

A, lovely writing style, good plot, well defined characters, well developed sense of mood

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