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

  • 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 February 2007, and has been updated for the January 2008 paperback release. 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" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

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

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...
  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.