Saturday, February 2, 2013
I had the great privilege of reading Reply to a Letter from Helga by the Icelandic novelist Bergsveinn Birgisson (translated by Philip Roughton) for the Chicago Tribune.
Yesterday the review appeared in the Tribune. I share fragments with you here, with the hope that you will seek out the book and read it for yourself. It moved me deeply.
From my review:
It is a story built of sheep horns, tussocks, gale winds, fishing huts, bone button holders, wolffish skin lampshades, young puffins, half-dried cod and one lovingly smoked corpse of a woman dead too long in a remote stretch of frozen landscape. It is folk tale and philosophy, a farmer's sensibilities and his favorite remembered poems. It is, most of all, elemental.