My first book in 2019

I bought Hotel Silence by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir in Dublin – a little Christmas present to myself. It’s about a man’s journey, his relationships and his skills as a handyman – and about war and suicide. Not cheerful. But thoroughly heartwarming. The war took place in an unknown country, one assumes it was a civil war, neighbours against neighbours, the choir’s baritone against the tenor. Really messy, destructive and without much hope for the future. But somehow, Jónas’s arrival  – also meant to be (self-)destructive – mends instead. How that happens is wonderful to read, because it feels like it could happen to all of us. Throughout the book are diary entries by Jonas and quotes that made me pause my reading. Step back, take a different point of view, disagree, understand the young and the older mind.
Because I would have not been able to read this book in Icelandic (yes, it won the Icelandic Literature Prize), I’m very grateful that Brian FitzGibbon translated it into English. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on this enriching book.

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