Read Your Way Through Reykjavík

You may have heard of Laxness’ most famous novel, “Independent people, ” Originally published in the early 1930s and became one of the first Icelandic novels to be published in the United States, in 1946. If you continue down Laugavegur and then make your way to Skólavörðustígur, you it is certainly possible to find a copy of “The Book of Sheep,” as we called it in our youth and carelessness, in the Eymundsson bookstore across from the old city prison. The store has a wide selection of any Icelandic literature available in English and a cafe to boot. There you can sit and browse, and perhaps even read the first pages of Bjartur’s quest for independence from other men and his daughter’s quest for independence. And about his sheep.

Looseness inspired but he also cast a shadow, and if you were an aspiring writer in Iceland in the 40s or 50s, or even the 60s, you will probably feel both. those two things. Eventually other ghosts joined him – including many from abroad – so that over time, there seemed to be no shadows at all, only inspiration.

At Eymundsson, you may want to get “Good Shepherd,“The classic novel by Gunnar Gunnarsson – the unbelievably simple story of Benedikt, a man in search of sheep in the dead of winter. Gunnarsson is primarily written in Danish and has been translated into Icelandic by Laxness. He later translated some of his novels himself, but Laxness turned out to be a better Gunnarsson in Icelandic than Gunnarsson himself.

Getting closer to us in time, I recommend watching Einar Már Guðmundsson’s lighthearted tale of madness.”Angel of the universe“; Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir’s “Green homes“Exquisite and elegant; Sjon’sBlue fox, ”A lyrical novel, like a fable; Hallgrimur Helgason’s “Woman at 1000 degrees,“Bigger than the previous three novels (yes – the main character is living in a garage with a laptop and an old grenade); or Auður Jónsdóttir of “Quake, ”Where amnesia and family secrets intertwined. Then there’s the historical novel by Jón Kalman Stefánsson “Sadness of the Angels“Takes you to the West Fjords, and” by Einar Kárason “Storm bird“Takes you straight out to sea in inclement weather.

You will also discover that crime fiction is alive and well in Iceland, represented by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Arnaldur Indrisason and Ragnar Jonasson.

I wish there were more Icelandic authors in English translations: Maybe by now you’ve had the inspiration to learn Icelandic to help fix that.

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