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Angels of the Universe

By Einar Mar Gudmundsson

Few novels have made such a lasting impression on the Icelandic nation as Angels of the Universe. In the novel, the main character, Paul, tells his life story from the cradle to the grave, and describes how the shadow of mental illness falls over his life as the innocence of childhood slips away. Although the novel describes the + Read More..
Few novels have made such a lasting impression on the Icelandic nation as Angels of the Universe. In the novel, the main character, Paul, tells his life story from the cradle to the grave, and describes how the shadow of mental illness falls over his life as the innocence of childhood slips away. Although the novel describes the bitterness of Paul’s fate, it is also very humorous. One of the novel’s greatest strengths is its narrative balance between moments of hilarity and bitter sadness.

In 1995, Einar Már Guðmundsson was awarded the Nordic Council Literary Prize for Angels of the Universe. The novel has been translated into nearly 30 languages and has awoken much interest around the world and received excellent reviews. The film by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson based on the novel has also enjoyed great popularity.
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Burial Rites

By Hannah Kent

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the + Read More..
A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question: How can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Hannah Kent was born in Adelaide in 1985. As a teenager she travelled to Iceland on a Rotary Exchange, where she first heard the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir.

Hannah is the co-founder and deputy editor of Australian literary journal Kill Your Darlings. In 2011 she won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award. Burial Rites is her first novel.
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Gnarr: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World

By Jon Gnarr

In the epicenter of the world financial crisis, a comedian launched a joke campaign that didn’t seem so funny to the country’s leading politicians . . .

It all started when Jón Gnarr founded the Best Party in 2009 to satirize his country’s political system. The financial collapse in Iceland had, after all, precipitated the world-wide meltdown, and fomented widespread protest + Read More..
In the epicenter of the world financial crisis, a comedian launched a joke campaign that didn’t seem so funny to the country’s leading politicians . . .

It all started when Jón Gnarr founded the Best Party in 2009 to satirize his country’s political system. The financial collapse in Iceland had, after all, precipitated the world-wide meltdown, and fomented widespread protest over the country’s leadership.

Entering the race for mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, Gnarr promised to get the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park into downtown parks, free towels at public swimming pools, a “drug-free Parliament by 2020” . . . and he swore he’d break all his campaign promises.

But then something strange started happening: his campaign began to succeed. And in the party’s electoral debut, the Best Party emerged as the biggest winner. Gnarr promptly proposed a coalition government, although he ruled out partners who had not seen all five seasons of The Wire.

And just like that, a man whose previous foreign-relations experience consisted of a radio show (in which he regularly crank-called the White House and police stations in the Bronx to see if they had found his lost wallet) was soon meeting international leaders and being taken seriously as the mayor of a European capital.

Here, Gnarr recounts how it all happened and, with admirable candor, describes his vision of a more enlightened politics for the future. The point, he writes, is not to be afraid to get involved—or to take on the system.

“Certainly my favorite mayor. No competition, in fact.” Noam Chomsky
$10.00
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Iceland: Land of the Sagas

By David Roberts

"We raised our fists and cheered. . . . With the sagas in our heads, with Iceland at its wildest beneath our boots, it would not have been impossible to see Bárdr clumping along the summit ridge, prodding the glacier with his staff, ready to show us the way down."

Iceland is a pictorial classic on one of the + Read More..
"We raised our fists and cheered. . . . With the sagas in our heads, with Iceland at its wildest beneath our boots, it would not have been impossible to see Bárdr clumping along the summit ridge, prodding the glacier with his staff, ready to show us the way down."

Iceland is a pictorial classic on one of the last "undiscovered" countries in Europe--reissued for the first time in paperback.

Iceland is often thought to be covered by ice, but in fact it is gloriously green. Lush meadows, wildflower fields, and miles of rich tundra cover a landscape of remarkable variety: deep lakes, bubbling hot springs, tumbling waterfalls, snow-capped mountains. It's also a landscape amazingly alive with massive lava flows and enormous glaciers. The human story of Iceland goes back more than eleven thousand years, and its heritage is told here in a treasury of riveting sagas of real-life heroes and all manner of supernatural beings.

Both the land and the people of one of Europe's most gorgeous countries come to life in this colorful account of the authors' adventures as they walk, climb, and photograph their way through Iceland and connect to the bone-chilling sagas and the unfamiliar terrain. With breathtaking photographs from critically acclaimed writer and journalist Jon Krakauer, author of the international bestsellers Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, and a penetrating narrative from Outside contributing editor and travel writer David Roberts, Iceland splendidly captures the spirit of this enigmatic country.

Circumnavigating Iceland in summer and winter, Krakauer and Roberts encounter tales of monks and Vikings, outlaws and adventurers, trolls and witches. While touring and photographing, they discover the myths and legends of Iceland's stirring history. Numerous other feats--including a hazardous winter climb to the summit of one of Iceland's tallest mountains--round out a fascinating introduction to this unique and beautiful land.
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Icelandic Folk Legends: Tales of apparitions, outlaws and things unseen

By Alda Sigmundsdottir

The Icelandic nation has a long and rich history of storytelling. Throughout centuries characterized by hardship, poverty and dark winters, the Icelanders kept their spirits high and moral values intact by telling each other stories. In this collection of 15 Icelandic folk legends, we get a glimpse of the world-view of the Icelanders in centuries past as they + Read More..
The Icelandic nation has a long and rich history of storytelling. Throughout centuries characterized by hardship, poverty and dark winters, the Icelanders kept their spirits high and moral values intact by telling each other stories. In this collection of 15 Icelandic folk legends, we get a glimpse of the world-view of the Icelanders in centuries past as they endeavored to understand and cope with the natural phenomena around them.

There are stories of malicious ghosts, outlaws living in carved-out boulders, hidden people residing in grassy knolls, trolls that are tripped up by their own stupidity, and much more. In addition, there is one story exemplifying a fairy tale motif that scholars have discovered to be unique to Iceland: that of the good stepmother (The Story of Himinbjörg).

Throughout we get a powerful sense of the Icelanders' beliefs, values and fears, as well as their strong need to cling to all that was pure and good.
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Independent People

By Halldor Laxness

This magnificent novel—which secured for its author the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature—is at least available to contemporary American readers. Although it is set in the early twentieth century, it recalls both Iceland's medieval epics and such classics as Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter. And if Bjartur of Summerhouses, the book's protagonist, is an ordinary sheep farmer, his flinty + Read More..
This magnificent novel—which secured for its author the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature—is at least available to contemporary American readers. Although it is set in the early twentieth century, it recalls both Iceland's medieval epics and such classics as Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter. And if Bjartur of Summerhouses, the book's protagonist, is an ordinary sheep farmer, his flinty determination to achieve independence is genuinely heroic and, at the same time, terrifying and bleakly comic.

Having spent eighteen years in humiliating servitude, Bjartur wants nothing more than to raise his flocks unbeholden to any man. But Bjartur's spirited daughter wants to live unbeholden to him. What ensues is a battle of wills that is by turns harsh and touching, elemental in its emotional intensity and intimate in its homely detail. Vast in scope and deeply rewarding, Independent People is a masterpiece.
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Jar City: A Reykjavi­k Thriller

By Arnaldur Indridason

Jar City introduces readers to a new crime writer from Iceland whose work has created an international sensation. Arnaldur Indridason has been compared to such luminaries in the field as Henning Mankell, Georges Simenon, Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall; everyone agrees that here is a world-class writer.

When a lonely old man is found murdered in his Reykjavík + Read More..
Jar City introduces readers to a new crime writer from Iceland whose work has created an international sensation. Arnaldur Indridason has been compared to such luminaries in the field as Henning Mankell, Georges Simenon, Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall; everyone agrees that here is a world-class writer.

When a lonely old man is found murdered in his Reykjavík flat, the only clues are a cryptic note left by the killer and a photograph of a young girl’s grave. Inspector Erlendur, who heads the investigation team, discovers that many years ago the victim was accused, though not convicted, of an unsolved crime. Did the old man’s past come back to haunt him?

As the team of detectives reopen this very cold case, Inspector Erlendur uncovers secrets that are much larger than the murder of one old man--secrets that have been carefully guarded by many people for many years. As he follows a fascinating trail of unusual forensic evidence, Erlendur also confronts stubborn personal conflicts that reveal his own depth and complexity of character. Like all great crime fiction, Jar City is about much more than murder, and avid suspense fans are about to discover a first-rate writer who has already received rave reviews around the world.
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Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland

By Sarah Moss

Sarah Moss had a childhood dream of moving to Iceland, sustained by a wild summer there when she was nineteen. In 2009, she saw an advertisement for a job at the University of Iceland and applied on a whim, despite having two young children and a comfortable life in Kent. The resulting adventure was shaped by Iceland’s economic + Read More..
Sarah Moss had a childhood dream of moving to Iceland, sustained by a wild summer there when she was nineteen. In 2009, she saw an advertisement for a job at the University of Iceland and applied on a whim, despite having two young children and a comfortable life in Kent. The resulting adventure was shaped by Iceland’s economic collapse, which halved the value of her salary, by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull and by a collection of new friends, including a poet who saw the only bombs fall on Iceland in 1943, a woman who speaks to elves and a chef who guided Sarah’s family around the intricacies of Icelandic cuisine.

Moss explored hillsides of boiling mud and volcanic craters and learned to drive like an Icelander on the unsurfaced roads that link remote farms and fishing villages in the far north. She watched the northern lights and the comings and goings of migratory birds, and as the weeks and months went by, she and her family learned new ways to live.

Names for the Sea is her compelling, beautiful and very funny account of living in a country poised on the edge of Europe, where modernization clashes with living folklore.
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Reykjavik Nights: An Inspector Erlendur Novel (An Inspector Erlendur Series)

By Arnaldur Indridason

In Reykjavik Nights, a stunning prequel to his critically acclaimed Inspector Erlendur series, Arnaldur Indriðason gives his devoted fans a real shock.

Erlendur is a young officer assigned to traffic duties. He is not yet a detective. He works nights. Reykjavík’s nights are full of car crashes, robberies, fights, drinking, and sometimes an unexplained death.

One night a homeless man + Read More..
In Reykjavik Nights, a stunning prequel to his critically acclaimed Inspector Erlendur series, Arnaldur Indriðason gives his devoted fans a real shock.

Erlendur is a young officer assigned to traffic duties. He is not yet a detective. He works nights. Reykjavík’s nights are full of car crashes, robberies, fights, drinking, and sometimes an unexplained death.

One night a homeless man Erlendur knows is found drowned. Then a young woman on her way home from a club vanishes and both cases go cold.

But Erlendur’s instincts tell him that the fates of these two victims are worth pursuing. He is inexorably drawn into a world where everyone is either in the dark or on the run.
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Snowblind

By Ragnar Jónasson

Taut and terrifying, a startling debut from an extraordinary new talent, taking Nordic Noir to soaring new heights

Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors, and which is accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik, + Read More..
Taut and terrifying, a startling debut from an extraordinary new talent, taking Nordic Noir to soaring new heights

Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors, and which is accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik, with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theater, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and where secrets and lies are a way of life.

An avalanche and unremitting snowstorms close the mountain pass, and the 24-hour darkness threatens to push Ari over the edge, as curtains begin to twitch, and his investigation becomes increasingly complex, chilling, and personal. Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts, while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness—blinded by snow, and with a killer on the loose.
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The Saga of the Volsungs

By Anonymous

One of the great books of world literature--an unforgettable tale of jealousy, unrequited love, greed, and vengeance.
Based on Viking Age poems and composed in thirteenth-century Iceland, The Saga of the Volsungs combines mythology, legend, and sheer human drama in telling of the heroic deeds of Sigurd the dragon slayer, who acquires runic knowledge from one of Odin's Valkyries.

+ Read More..
One of the great books of world literature--an unforgettable tale of jealousy, unrequited love, greed, and vengeance.
Based on Viking Age poems and composed in thirteenth-century Iceland, The Saga of the Volsungs combines mythology, legend, and sheer human drama in telling of the heroic deeds of Sigurd the dragon slayer, who acquires runic knowledge from one of Odin's Valkyries.

Yet the saga is set in a very human world, incorporating oral memories of the fourth and fifth centuries, when Attila the Hun and other warriors fought on the northern frontiers of the Roman empire.

In his illuminating Introduction Jesse L. Byock links the historical Huns, Burgundians, and Goths with the extraordinary events of this Icelandic saga. With its ill-fated Rhinegold, the sword reforged, and the magic ring of power, the saga resembles the Nibelungenlied and has been a primary source for such fantasy writers as J. R. R. Tolkien and for Richard Wagner's Ring cycle.
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The Sagas of the Icelanders

A unique body of medieval literature, the Sagas rank with the world's greatest literary treasures--as epic as Homer, as deep in tragedy as Sophocles, as engagingly human as Shakespeare. Set around the turn of the last millennium, these stories depict with an astonishingly modern realism the lives and deeds of the Norse men and women who first settled + Read More..
A unique body of medieval literature, the Sagas rank with the world's greatest literary treasures--as epic as Homer, as deep in tragedy as Sophocles, as engagingly human as Shakespeare. Set around the turn of the last millennium, these stories depict with an astonishingly modern realism the lives and deeds of the Norse men and women who first settled Iceland and of their descendants, who ventured further west--to Greenland and, ultimately, the coast of North America itself.

The ten Sagas and seven shorter tales in this volume include the celebrated "Vinland Sagas," which recount Leif Eiriksson's pioneering voyage to the New World and contain the oldest descriptions of the North American continent.

"One of the great marvels of World Literature.... This is a dream come true." Ted Hughes