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Search tags: icelandic-lit
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review 2016-08-26 13:24
My review of Icelandic phenom Sjón's masterpiece is live

My new #review is live today. MOONSTONE: The Boy Who Never Was is truly jaw-dropping. From the review, "Sjón operates equally lyrically when describing the antiquated views of the doctor and the simple survival techniques of Máni."


Farrar, Straus and Giroux gets 5 full stars because they chose Victoria Cribb to translate this book. Clearly she is fearless! This is a must-read for anyone interested in #LGBTQ lit.

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quote 2016-05-12 20:00
“Better to go barefoot than without books.”

~ Icelandic saying

Source: www.bbc.com/travel/story/20160509-the-truth-about-icelandic-happiness
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review 2016-03-14 16:25
Ashes to Dust - A Review

ASHES TO DUST by Yrsa Sigurdardottir.

Dubbed the “Pompeii of the North”, archeologist Hjortur Fridriksson is trying to unearth some of the homes still buried on Heimaey Island after the 1973 volcanic eruption. For some reason this has Markus Magnusson in a bit of a tither.  He wants to get into the basement to retrieve a box he stored there the night the eruption began … a box, the contents of which he professes to have no knowledge because he did not ask any questions when his high-school crush asked him to hide it for her.  Lawyer, Thora Gudmundsdottir filed an injuction preventing Fridreksson from going ahead with any excavation of Markus’ home until he can enter the basement. 
When Thora and Markus go down to retrieve the mysterious box they get more than they had bargained for – there among the ashes and dust lie three near-perfectly preserved bodies.  Markus is so shocked he drops the precious box only to reveal its grisly contents – a human head.
At the same time Alda, Markus’ high school crush, is found dead in her apartment.  At first it appears to be suicide, but then is quickly ruled to be a murder.  The timing is too coincidental to rule out the two incidents being related.
And so begins a twisted story of the happenings that fateful night that the volcano erupted on Heimaey Island.
I have enjoyed the previous two Thora Gudmundsdottir novels (Last Rituals, My Soul to Take) and although I enjoyed this one as well I found it to be one of those books that I struggled with for the first half and then devoured the second half in a couple of sittings.  It was definitely a slow burn to get to the meat of this book, but when the mystery started to resolve itself it was definitely worth plowing through.
As do most of her books “Ashes to Dust” has an extensive cast of characters and with the Icelandic names it took awhile to keep them all straight.  Again – worth it in the end.
Despite some of the drawbacks this was a good mystery with an ending that I thought I saw coming.  All I’ll say about that is that I was quite mistaken.
I have the next book in the series on reserve at the library and am looking forward to reading it.  Bella, a previously minor character in the role of Thora’s secretary, is given a more major part in this story and she is quite a “colorful” character so hope to get to know her a little better in the next book.  Also, Thora’s home life looks like it is about to become a little more complicated, so I am intrigued to see where that goes as well.
This is a series I enjoy and would recommend it to anyone looking for some good murder mysteries set in a most interesting locale.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from the book cover)
Yrsa Sigurdardottir works as a civil engineer in Reykjavik.  Her books for children have won prizes and gret acclaim.  Ashes to Dust is her third adult novel.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR (from the book cover)
Philip Roughton is a highly respected translator of Icelandic literature, having translated works by the Nobel Prize winner Hallidor Laxness, among others.  He lives in Reykjavik.
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review 2016-03-10 08:00
Blog Tour for Thin Ice by Quentin Bates: My review
Thin Ice: Officer Gunnhildur, Book 5 - Quentin Bates,Mel Hudson,Audible Studios

Published by: Constable (3rd March 2016)


ISBN: 978-1472121493


Source: Agent provided review copy


Rating: 4*



When two small-time crooks rob Reykjavik's premier drugs dealer, hoping for a quick escape to the sun, their plans start to unravel after their getaway driver fails to show. Tensions mount between the pair and the two women they have grabbed as hostages when they find themselves holed upcountry in an isolated hotel that has been mothballed for the season.
Back in the capital, Gunnhildur, Eiríkur and Helgi find themselves at a dead end investigating what appear to be the unrelated disappearance of a mother, her daughter and their car during a day's shopping, and the death of a thief in a house fire.
Gunna and her team are faced with a set of riddles but as more people are quizzed it begins to emerge that all these unrelated incidents are in fact linked. And at the same time, two increasingly desperate lowlifes have no choice but to make some big decisions on how to get rid of their accidental hostages...



I've quite recently started reading some crime thrillers set in Sweden, so this Icelandic noir felt quite familiar to me, and the names of the characters and places not so difficult to get my tongue around as if I'd only previously read British and American books.


The characters are numerous, and complex; they all add something to this gritty tale. I really warmed towards Gunna. She's determined yet caring, and absolutely resolved to get to the bottom of this latest case and see the perpetrator/s punished.


I really liked the story - it starts off with a simple crime that rapidly unravels and morphs into something else entirely. It's gritty and realistic with lots of detail that make it believable. It's a fast read with plenty of action to keep you interested. It should appeal to discerning crime readers. Well worth a read.

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review 2016-01-15 06:21
Into Oblivion, by Arnaldur Indriðason
Into Oblivion: An Icelandic Thriller (An Inspector Erlendur Series) - Arnaldur Indridason

Arnaldur Indriðason has once again taken us back to Inspector Erlendur’s early years with Iceland’s Criminal Investigation Division with Into Oblivion, his second prequel for the series. In this volume, Erlendur is working with his boss a mentor, Marion Briem, to find out what happened to a man who appears to have fallen to his death in spite of being found in a hot spring in the middle of a lava field. In the B Plot, Erlendur tries to solve the long cold case about a girl who mysteriously disappeared in 1953...


Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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