From the acclaimed Icelandic author of Absolution, The Journey Home (now about to start filming under Liv Ullmanns direction) and Walking into the Night: a haunting collection of thematically linked stories that encompasses the twelve months of a year, capturing the most candid moments between lovers, husbands and wives, parents and childrenwhen truths and true feelings surge to the surface and everything changes.
Olaf Olafssons fans will recognize the perfect restraint and precisionand quick witwith which he characteristically explores these dark epiphanies, when the heart is suddenly laid bare, whether by love or betrayal, disenchantment or regret, or the shock of loss. While their settings range from the East Coast to the West Coast, from Paris to Slovenia and Iceland, these contemporary stories probe the complexity of modern relationships over time. A wife realizes her closest confidante is much more than that. A father tries to make his new lover into the image of his late wife. A lusty photographer confronts his own mortality. A couples long-anticipated anniversary vacation opens onto the past. A husband, a wife, a child, a boating accident: no harm done . . . and yet?
Each of the twelve stories reveals another element in the agonizing nature of passion, diminished and yet sustained over time. This is a powerful work of fiction from one of our most gifted and subtle international writers at work today.
He had suspected he might have to spend the night in New York. The plane had left an hour late from Iceland and circled for a long time over Kennedy Airport before getting permission to land. The pilot had said there were problems on the ground with ice and strong crosswinds, and for a while it looked as if they would have to land somewhere else. But at last he began the descent, the flight attendants took their seats and those who were afraid said their prayers, promising to lead better lives in future.
Tomas, a seasoned traveler, wasn't worried. He knew there wouldn't be any flights to Chicago till the following day so he decided to go into Manhattan and spend the evening there. He liked the city and often traveled there on business, particularly when he was younger. Once there had been talk of his being transferred there, the time when Ira Taubman and Harry Poindexter decided to retire and the company worried they would lose contact with important clients on the East ...
Olafsson's lean and compelling short stories are quite addictively good. I was tempted to recommend them during Valentines week but thought it best not to lest some unsuspecting soul rushed out to buy Valentines for their loved one without taking a closer look; the title is ironic, these stories are not of warm and nurturing relationships but of angst-ridden emotionally damaged people brought down by a moment of poor judgment in the past or present. Olafsson's style is dry with no excess of verbiage, but nevertheless rich in nuance.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (955 words).
Olaf Olafsson (full name Ólafur
Jóhann Ólafsson) was born in
Reykjavik, Iceland in 1962 and studied
physics as a Wien Scholar at Brandeis
University, Massachusetts, in the early
1980s. He is the author of three
novels and a collection of short
stories; his work has been translated
into at least 14 languages.
He is also Executive Vice President of Time Warner, responsible for the company's corporate strategy, mergers, acquisitions and investments. Prior to that, he was Vice Chairman of Time Warner Digital Media where he ...
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