Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

BookBrowse Reviews Valentines by Olaf Olafsson

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Valentines

by Olaf Olafsson

Valentines by Olaf Olafsson X
Valentines by Olaf Olafsson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2007, 224 pages

    Paperback:
    Jan 2008, 224 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A haunting collection of thematically linked stories encompassing the twelve months of a year

Olafsson's lean and compelling short stories are quite addictively good and, on the face of it, a shoo-in for Valentines. But a note of warning before you rush out to buy Valentines for a loved one - the title is ironic, Olafsson's 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. His style is dry, stripped of verbiage but nevertheless rich in nuance.

Most of the stories hinge on a single misstep in an otherwise healthy marriage, but that misstep is like a flaw in a slab of marble that can lie hidden for years, waiting for the moment when the stone is tapped at the wrong angle causing the entire sheet to fracture. Sometimes we witness this fracture taking root, knowing that it is just a matter of time until the crack becomes visible, other times the flaw is revealed as the final twist to the story. The outcomes are not universally dismal for Olafsson's protagonists; some receive their just desserts, sometimes there is a tragic reversal of fortune, but occasionally, just to keep us on our toes, a story ends on a potentially happy note with disaster possibly averted, or at least delayed, and happiness not inconceivably around the corner (but never quite in sight).

Olafsson's Bibliography

Absolution (1994) Spanning a boyhood in Iceland to the Nazi occupation of Denmark to modern-day Manhattan, Absolution plumbs the darkest corners of a sinister mind and a wounded heart.

Journey Home
(2000): Disa, a character reminiscent of the butler in Kazua Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, is a successful, attentive restaurateur and proprietress at an English country hotel. When she learns she has but a year to live, the news serves as the catalyst for a final trip home to Iceland -- a journey she has postponed for 20 years.

Walking Into The Night (2003): The life story of William Randolph Hearst’s fictional butler.

Valentines (2007, stories)


Interesting to note: According to the Iceland Review, the movie of Journey Home is back on track with filming expected to start in Iceland in April 2008.  An earlier project, directed by Liv Ullman, was shelved in 2006 due to disagreements over the screenplay.

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in February 2007, and has been updated for the February 2008 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Valentines, try these:

We have 6 read-alikes for Valentines, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by Olaf Olafsson
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Sicilian Inheritance
    The Sicilian Inheritance
    by Jo Piazza
    Sara Marsala is going through a rough patch, to say the least. In the process of divorcing from her ...
  • Book Jacket: The Light Eaters
    The Light Eaters
    by Zoë Schlanger
    The human race is completely dependent on plants. Many people, however, give little thought to ...
  • Book Jacket: Joy Is the Justice We Give Ourselves
    Joy Is the Justice We Give Ourselves
    by J Drew Lanham
    As a recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Grant, and a Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master ...
  • Book Jacket: Glorious Exploits
    Glorious Exploits
    by Ferdia Lennon
    Lampo and Gelon are two unemployed potters in their thirties whose lives are spent between their ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Long After We Are Gone
by Terah Shelton Harris
After their father's death, four siblings rally to save their family home in this gripping and hopeful tale.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    This Strange Eventful History
    by Claire Messud

    An immersive, masterful story of a family born on the wrong side of history.

  • Book Jacket

    The Stolen Child
    by Ann Hood

    An unlikely duo ventures through France and Italy to solve the mystery of a child’s fate.

Win This Book
Win Only the Brave

Only the Brave by Danielle Steel

A powerful, sweeping historical novel about a courageous woman in World War II Germany.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

F T a T

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.