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The Voices Beyond

Title: The Voices Beyond
By: Johan Theorin

Öland is like paradise to the nearly 12-year-old Jonas Kloss. He is going to spend the last summer of the 20th century at the family resort, Villa Kloss, and earn some spending money by painting decks for his Uncle Kent and Aunt Veronica. Little does he know that an evening outing in the sound will turn out to be a nightmare experience: a ghost ship suddenly appears and capsizes his rubber dinghy. To save his life, Jonas has to reach up to the gunwale and climb aboard, only to find a horrific scene of massacre, with dying or dead seamen reaching out to him for help. He screams and flees to the boathouse of Gerlof Davidsson, a retired ship captain.

The ghost ship is not the sole tragedy in this story, only the beginning of a tale of greed and betrayal, murder and sabotage. Nor is Jonas the only one to suffer a childhood trauma. In the summer of 1930, 14-year-old Gerlof was working as a gravedigger in between times at sea. Mysterious knocking noises from the ground prompted him to disinter and reinter Edvard Kloss, Jonas’ grandfather, and frightened to death one of the two surviving Kloss brothers. Digging along with Gerlof was a younger boy, Aron Fredh. The following summer, Aron’s stepfather told Aron that they were sailing to America. The stepfather, a Communist, was lying; the SS Kastelholm was headed for the Soviet Union.

The Voices Beyond (2015) is the 4th volume of Theorin’s quartet set on the island of Öland, where the author regularly visits and collects supernatural tales. The first three installments are Echoes from the Dead (2008), The Darkest Room (2009), and The Quarry (2013). Gerlof Davidsson acts as a main character to connect story lines throughout the quartet. Unlike the previous three parts, The Voices Beyond goes beyond a single time and place, chronicling three boys’ experiences during three different summertimes, and detailing Aron’s life in the Soviet Union from the era of Stalin to the new Russia. Even though Aron’s resolute longing to come back to Öland ends in tragic disillusionment, the author finds hope in the octogenarian Gerlof and young Jonas: sometimes our mind wants to let go, but our bodies are unwilling. Life goes on.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction, mystery

Posted on Aug. 17, 2016 at 4:16 a.m.

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