Saga Shop Winter 2019

14 Icelandair Stopover Published before the rise of Nordic noir and set in the 1960s, The Flatey Enigma will be unlike most other Nordic crime fiction that you might come across. When a disfigured body is found near Flatey, an island off Ice- land’s west coast, an inexperienced district magistrate representative is dispatched to look into the matter. Soon we are introduced to the island’s close-knit community, steeped in superstition and local lore and prideful of their place as people eking out an existence in an unforgiving landscape. At the heart of the story is a murder mystery with an intriguing historical element relating to the 14th- century manuscript known as Codex Flateyensins —or “The Flatey Book.” What’s especially striking about this mystery is the locals themselves, who have a true sense of “other” to them; a vision of an isolated Nordic world- view that has all but vanished. Though initially published in 2002, The Flatey Enigma is sure to find new and eager readers this winter with the release of a new limited television series based on the book. EMBRACE THE DARK As winter prolongs, with cold days and dark evenings, snuggle up with one of these choice Icelandic reads, selected by Björn Halldórsson . Check out which audio books are available on page 74 and on our in-flight entertainment system. ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE UNIVERSE By Jón Kalman Stefánsson TRAP (REYKJAVÍK NOIR TRILOGY 2) By Lilja Sigurðardóttir ÖRÆFI – THE WASTELAND By Ófeigur Sigurðsson THE FLATEY ENIGMA By Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson In 2017, Fish Have No Feet earned Jón Kalman Stefánsson and his translator Philip Roughton a longlist nomination for the International Man Booker. Although About the Size of the Universe is labeled as an indepen- dent sequel, the book follows close on the heels of the previous novel, continuing its scattered-through-time approach to storytelling. In these two books we are presented with three generations of a single family; proud folk crushed under the weight of their fatalistic lives in a remote 19th-century fishing village, and their modern counterparts, lost in the gaps of their ill-defined identities as “modern” Icelanders. The novel’s elusive narrator—an uncertain familial connection—observes the family in close proximity, moving from corporeal existence to an Ishmael-like disappearance. This ambiguity can seem jarring at first, but as with Jón Kalman’s previous books, the reader soon learns to let go and trust the narration, at which point the novel opens up into a startling feat of storytelling. In Snare , readers first became acquainted with Sonja, a flight attendant and single mom who becomes a reluctant yet extremely capable drug smuggler in order to secure the funds to fight for the custody of her son. In this second novel of Lilja Sigurðardóttir’s Reykjavík Noir Trilogy , Sonja has settled in Florida with her son Tomas and believes her life of crime to be behind her. However, when Tomas’s safety is threatened, she must return to Iceland and resume her illicit activities. There, Sonja’s former lover Agla longs for her return, though a reunion seems unlikely as Agla is confined to a cell and awaiting trial for her role in the financial crimes that helped topple the Icelandic economy. The strength of Lilja’s crime fiction is the depth of her characters. Her somewhat amoral protagonists still manage to garner readers’ sympathies, despite their decisions leading them ever further into vice and corruption, all the while dreaming of a distant day when they can return to ordinary life. Öræfi , or The Wasteland , was the surprise hit of the 2015 Icelandic book season, becoming a bestseller while also being praised by critics and receiving the Icelandic Literature Prize—a tight-rope walk that has eluded many works of fiction. It tells the story of Austrian toponymist Bernhardt Fingerberg, who takes on an ill-fated solo research expedition into the desolate Öræfi region and finally into Vatnajökull glacier itself. Along the way, Berhardt’s darkly humorous narrative is continually misdirected, chasing tendrils of information, Icelandic folklore and history into dead-ends and blind alleys, before returning to the story at hand. An experimental novel that pushes against the boundaries of traditional narrative, the book’s success in Iceland gave new hope to many a cynic who believed modern literary fiction was doomed to always lose out to fast-paced thrillers in terms of mass appeal. It’s no wonder that Öræfi shares a translator with Guðbergur Bergsson’s seminal Tómas Jónsson: Bestseller . AUDIO BOOK