I loved Isak Dinesen ever since I had discovered her short story collection, “Gothic Tales”.
In this slim novel she writes the attempted spiritual seduction of a woman, a metaphorical valkyrie, with all of its poetic consequences. An artist begins to paint a portrait of this maid of honour, as Venus bathing, seeking to conquer her with a blush, 'in this blush her past, present, and future will be thrown at my feet.'
The best adult fairy tale I've read in a long while; the humor is mocking and witty, the story winding and evocative, and the characters original and inviting.
“Tall white-clad mountains will naturally be a little slow in the uptake, but when at last they do realize and conceive, what glow, you heavens, and what glorification. And what void afterwards. I have seen the Alpen-Glühen once, the moment is among the greatest of my existence, and when it was over I said to myself that I would give ten years of my life to see this once more. And yet after all it has been but a presage of my adventure with Ehrengard.”
-Herr Cazotte, Painter ‘Ehrengard’, Isak Dinesen.