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Books

Thrilling Murder Mystery: My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

Yrsa Sigurdardóttir’s My Soul to Take is a brilliantly-written crime novel of nightmarish proportions with a carefully-woven plot. Think Agatha Christie: A remote countryside hotel, a mysterious murder and everyone is a suspect. However, unlike the detectives in Christie’s novels, Thóra the lawyer...

Frozen Morals: Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indridason

The main storyline in Arctic Chill , the latest novel by Arnaldur Indridason to be released in English, is likely to keep readers glued to the pages. However, various side stories find their way into the book and disrupt the plot; some make the story more exciting while others leave it longwinded.

Image of Old Iceland: Million Percent Men by Ólafur Gunnarsson

Million Percent Men tells the story of Engilbert, who, upon returning to Iceland from America, becomes a successful businessman, leading a luxurious life and being the envy of everyone in town. Although the style of writing is chaotic, the story gives a fairly accurate and humorous account of...

A Glimpse of Iceland’s Soul: Icelandic Horses by Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson

Icelandic Horses , by one of Iceland’s most accomplished photographers Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson, is an honest and beautiful account of Icelandic horses and horse culture. Although the photographs themselves could have been more detailed and artistic, the book gives well-deserved credit to the best...

Killing Instinct: Daybreak by Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson

Despite lackluster descriptions, some bland characters and a few loose threads, crime writer Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson manages to paint a colorful background in his novel Daybreak and weave an exciting plot, one that leaves the reader puzzled and hungry for more. Earlier this year, the television...

A Model Children’s Book: The Last Troll by Steinar Berg and Brian Pilkington

The Last Troll , set in the magical countryside of Borgarfjördur, tells the story of Bergsteinn, a farmer’s son, and the ogress Drífa who, against all odds, fall in love. The book plays on folk stories of trolls and elves intertwined with history and geography, containing beautiful language,...

A Different Iceland: My Self & I by Thráinn Bertelsson

Thráinn Bertelsson is one of the Iceland’s best known film directors, but also an accomplished writer. My Self & I (2004) is his autobiography, although at times the story of his life seems beside the point, and Reykjavík, as a struggling young capital, steps into the limelight. While...

Brilliant Plot, Bleak Characters: Aska by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

When human remains are discovered inside a house that was buried in ashes in the 1973 volcanic eruption in the Westman Islands, awkward middle-aged lawyer Thóra is caught up in a complicated investigation and a web of dark and haunting secrets. The plot is thrilling, although this crime novel could...

Frustratingly Boring: Valentines by Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson

Valentines by Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson contains 12 short stories, one for each month of the year. They all revolve around love and time, “the two most powerful forces in human existence,” as it says on the back of the book. But these bland tales just conclude without a real ending, without an...

A Decent Contribution to Icelandic Literature: Skipid by Stefán Máni

Skipid is a book worth reading. The author deserves credit for all the research he obviously did to make his novel realistic, describing the life on the freighter Per se in so much detail that the reader gets the feeling of being onboard the ship. But Skipid is also longwinded and dull at times.

Crosstrees Break like Other Trees: Krosstré by Jón Hallur Stefánsson

An architect in his forties is found severely injured at his summer house. While he is being kept unconscious at the hospital we learn about his life through his son and his lover. Unnecessary characters interrupt the plot and make the story boring, but this crime novel also has some exciting...

Exploring the Boundaries of Crime: Hardskafi by Arnaldur Indridason

Hardskafi (2007) is Indridason’s best book since the publication of Silence of the Grave . Named after a mountain in east Iceland, the title indicates where the story is headed, back to the childhood home of detective Erlendur, back into his past, into the depths of his soul.

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