Archive for Hardskafi

Harðskafi [book re-review]

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , on December 24, 2016 by xi'an

Just finished re-reading Arnaldur Indriðason‘s Hypothermia (or Harðskafi in Icelandic, for a mountain in the Western fjords central to the series), which I deem the best novel in this series I have read so far. Even more than in the other novels, the crime aspect is peripheral to the story. And even more than in the other novels, the inner thoughts of the main character get exposed and analysed. The story is so well-conducted that it is unclear for most of it that Erlendur believes or not in the supernatural that seems so prevalent in Icelandic culture. The only fausse note is the meeting between Erlandur and his ex-wife, which sounds somewhat caricaturesque. But overall this is a great Icelandic novel.

Harðskafi

Posted in Books with tags , on July 23, 2011 by xi'an

Hypothermia is the 6th volume in the “Reykjavík Murder Mystery” series of Arnaldur Indriðason, featuring the inspector Erlunder. The book is hardly a crime fiction book, even less than the previous ones I read, and not so much about society this time as about the personal problems of Erlunder. (The title is the name of a mountain in the east of Iceland where Erlunder’s childhood tragedy occurred. And that could prove instrumental for the resolution of his sense of loss and lack of familial attachments…) The pacing is slow (as in slow food, a positive feature!) and most of the book does not feel at all like a detective story. At some point, I was wondering whether Indriðason was getting into a fantastic novel. While set in the same referential as the earlier novels, this book is very special and original, even though I presume I am missing some Icelandic referential in terms of the importance of lakes and family roots and theatre. In a sense, the weakest point of Hypothermia is the partial resolution of the criminal aspect of the story as it stretches a lot the boundaries of the credible. But the remainder of the story and the re-creation of the past and present familial links of Erlunder is quite quite enjoyable… I would rank Grafarþögn a wee higher because of the intense story of abuse in the background, but still a great book.