Originally published in 1945, just after the war, Huset i mørkret
[The House in the Dark] is generally considered to be an allegory about that very same war: a tale of occupied Norway and its inhabitants. At the same time, the book transcends the boundaries of 'mere' allegory, becoming a work of higher abstraction that is relevant to many different situations of occupation and war.
The entire book takes place within the walls of the dark house, where people live in rooms and sometimes meander through murky corridors lit by shining golden arrows. The arrows all point toward the centre of the house, where its brain is located. The inhabitants are of many different kinds, from collaborators, underground fighters and innocent children.
This work is a typical though early expression of the style that would make Vesaas such a great writer. His settings contain a level of abstraction and poetry that serve to put universal feelings and themes in a splendid new light. In this book, these themes include treachery, resistance and the question of what is moral in a space occupied by an outside force.
Personally, I think Vesaas his style works most powerfully in his later novels, where nature and mysticism play a bigger role. However, Huset i mørkret
applies this style quite well, and is an impressive and highly recommended piece of 'war literature'.