BookBrowse Reviews Valentines by Olaf Olafsson

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Wrong End of the Telescope
    The Wrong End of the Telescope
    by Rabih Alameddine
    Rabih Alameddine's The Wrong End of the Telescope follows Mina, a Lebanese American doctor who ...
  • Book Jacket: Lightning Strike
    Lightning Strike
    by William Kent Krueger
    It is the summer of 1963 in Tamarack County, Minnesota. Just outside the small town of Aurora, ...
  • Book Jacket: Skinship
    Skinship
    by Yoon Choi
    The fine thing about short stories in general is their way of following characters through ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Last Mona Lisa
    by Jonathan Santlofer
    In 1911, the Mona Lisa disappeared from its home at the Louvre in Paris. It took two years for the ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Morningside Heights
by Joshua Henkin
A tender and big-hearted novel about love in the face of loss, from the award-winning author of The World Without You.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Flesh & Blood
    by N. West Moss

    This beautifully written memoir offers insight, understanding, and joy.

Win This Book!
Win Sisters of the Great War

Sisters of the Great War by Suzanne Feldman

A powerful novel of two unconventional American sisters who volunteer at the front during World War I.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y A B Up T W T

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

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.