Ottis Escape succeeds in being intimate and epic, skillfully interweaving the past and present with Norway’s majestic landscape and its pervading chill. Ottis presence – like a chill- is felt throughout the story – even when she is absent- through the impact she has on the two men in her life, Frederik and Bernard, her daughters (especially the painfully fragile Monika), and Mrs Risen- her charismatic mother and nemesis.
Ottis dealings with rejection, family, marriage, parenthood, trauma, death, grief and impending loneliness are chilling and unapologetic; and and following a series of devastating incidents beyond her control, and perhaps subconsciously of her doing, we finally and satisfyingly get to the heart of this enigmatic character who frustrates and beguiles in equal measures.
Ottis escape is a subtle and compelling page turner; a fraying and often familiar tapestry of manners, traditions, unrequited passions, betrayals, and ultimately survival. In addition to its poetic sweep, captured each time like a few strokes from an artists brush, the storys other strength, and its driving force, is the authors ability to inhabit the psychology of each character so that we are left rooting for them-warts and all; and no less so for Otti whose epiphany reveals a wound that is also a deeply touching statement about the effects of war on a frightened little girl.
by anthony grant