Trond's friend Jon often appeared at his doorstep with an adventure in mind for the two of them. But this morning was different. What began as a joy ride on "borrowed" horses ends with Jon falling into a strange trance of grief. Trond soon learns what befell Jon earlier that day—an incident that marks the beginning of a series of vital losses for both boys.
Set in the easternmost region of Norway, Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson begins with an ending. Sixty-seven-year-old Trond has settled into a rustic cabin in an isolated area to live the rest of his life with a quiet deliberation. A meeting with his only neighbor, however, forces him to reflect on that fateful summer.
In The Wild Duck, the idealistic son of a corrupt merchant exposes his father's duplicity, but in the process destroys the very people he wishes to save. Convinced that reality is always superior to illusion, Gregers Werle forces his friends, the Ekdals, to face the truth about their lives. Unfortunately, the truth, involving scandal, illegitimacy, imprisonment, and madness, only serves to wound the Ekdals further. In the play, the wild duck is a symbol of this injured family, and perhaps of the loss of Ibsen's youthful idealism.
Moving and powerful, this thought-provoking tragedy shows clearly why Ibsen is regarded as one of the giants of modern theater.