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.
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).
The Boston Globe - Barbara Fisher
His lovely, restrained stories are taut with suspense as they move inexorably toward a revelation. We know the peaceful complacency of a situation is about to smash; suddenly, years of vague feelings coalesce into a moment of clarity.
In the two skimpy tales that end the year, however, he seems to be running out of steam, perhaps a prisoner of his own format. The title of this collection is ironic; any love that flows here is wayward and all too perishable.
Olafsson's Nordic realism à la Bergman holds a ghastly fascination.
Library Journal - Patrick Sullivan
While the title suggests romance and happy endings, very little here is cheerful. In fact, we see all manner of human weakness, recklessness, and desperation in the name of love. An ambitious, harrowing collection; highly recommended.
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 was
responsible for developing strategic
business plans for Time Warners diverse
digital media businesses and identifying
emerging growth opportunities for the
company in the digital realm.
Transcendent stories: about the uncertain gestures of love, about the betrayals and gifts of the body, about the surprises and bounties of the heart, and about what comes to us unbidden and what we choose.
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures invites us into a world where the ordinary becomes the critical in a matter of seconds. A formidable debut, it is a profound and unforgettable depiction of todays doctors, patients, and hospitals.
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