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June 02, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

CALLED HOME by Agnar Thordarson, translated from the Icelandic by Robert Kellogg (Norvik Press / Dufour Editions: $24.; 208 pp., paperback original). Thordarson's use of dialogue in this coming-of-age story reflects his skill as a playwright. The eruption of a volcano upsets the placid life in the Westman Islands off the southern coast of Iceland in 1973. During the eruption, a promising young poet discovers the dark secrets that lurk beneath the previously unruffled surface of his small-town home, including the hidden truth about his ancestry: "A person thinks he lives somewhere, and then all of a sudden, everything seems foreign to him and he becomes an outsider."

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