Monday, 5 May 2014
Season of the Witch: Arni Thorarinsson (Iceland)
This was the second Icelandic book I have read this year, and I am sure will be just one of many more. Like others I have read, I spied this in a Reykjavik book store last year and looked it up on my return to see if it was available on Kindle. When it popped up on one of the regular monthly deals, it was too good to resist, and I was far from disappointed.
The book is set in the sleepy backwater of Iceland's second largest town Akureyri, where I shall very soon be heading myself. It is a town I have not visited for many years, so it was good to renew acquaintances. Einar, the narrator and lead character is a reporter for the Afternoon News who have recently opened an office in this town, and heads north to head up the team, where he soon makes waves. The death of a woman during a corporate bonding retreat and the death of a fledgling young actor may seem unconnected at first, but in such a small town there are no thing as coincidences, and Einar partly through boredom and partly through his own desire to uncover the truth and represent the community that he now works for, sets out to unravel if indeed there are any connections.
The book although an easy and pleasant enough read for me will no doubt leave those who unfamiliar with Iceland its deep family ties, not to mention the belief in witchcraft somewhat perplexed, but it is worth persevering with for its gentle humour and easy paced narrative. Personally I enjoyed this book, and will be looking for others written by the same author. I have no idea whether this is his first work or just the first that has been translated into English I very much suspect the latter for no one publishes their first novel, but I will be eagerly awaiting more from his pen.