BOOKS: THE ICEBERG WINS AGAIN

BUT A NEW NOVEL STARS THE TITANIC'S MUSICIANS

A young man writes a virtuoso novel, and the reader, hearing this news, imagines what it might be: a blare of grand attitudes and romantic bosh perhaps, or a bravura display of cynicism not quite fully baked or fully earned. But the mood of Erik Fosnes Hansen's remarkable Psalm at Journey's End (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 371 pages; $24), published in its original Norwegian six years ago, when the author was 25, is dreamlike, elegiac stillness, a condition not usually thought of as youthful.

Hansen sets his tale aboard the Titanic in April 1912, when the great liner made its first...

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