13 April 11 | Chad W. Post | Comments

As announced yesterday, Icelandic author Gyrðir Elíasson has won the 2011 Nordic Council Literature Prize for his short story collection Milli trjánna.

From the Adjudicating Committee (! — great name . . . we don’t use the word “adjudicating” near enough in our modern vernacular):

“The Icelandic author Gyrðir Elíasson has won the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2011 for his short story collection Milli trjánna for stylistically outstanding literary art which depicts inner and outer threats in dialogue with world literature.”

Here’s a bit from Jón Yngvi Jóhannsson’s write-up of Milli trjánna:

If anyone wonders where August Strindberg ended up after his death, the answer can be found in Gyrðir Elíasson’s latest collection of short stories, Milli trjánna. Here we meet Strindberg sitting all alone in the canteen in IKEA in Iceland surrounded by shoppers stuffing themselves with Swedish meatballs and cowberry jam. The short story is called Inferno, of course! In some of the book’s other short stories the reader meets the saddened musical brothers who are burying their father, the undertaker, amongst the potatoes in his kitchen garden, another musician who discovers a blank gravestone in his boxroom and last but not least, a black dog. The characters and the surroundings have become familiar to Icelandic readers with a knowledge of the author’s previous works but will probably seem a little strange to foreign readers.

The short stories are woven into each other, and there are references to Gyrðir Elíasson’s previous writings as well as older literature, not least Nordic. From the beginning of his career Gyrðir Elíasson has built up a unique universe, a world where individual texts are reinforced by the whole that they form a part of, almost as if all his production is a colossal borderless text that grows with each new poem or tale.

It’s worth noting that in 2008, Gyrðir Elíasson’s Stone Tree was translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb and published in the UK by Comma Press.

And for more info on Icelandic Literature, be sure to check out Fabulous Iceland a special website that was created to promote Icelandic lit and culture before the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Iceland will reign supreme as the Guest of Honor.

....
Berlin
Berlin by Aleš Šteger
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .

Read More >

The Gun
The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura
Reviewed by Will Eells

Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so. . .

Read More >

This Place Holds No Fear
This Place Holds No Fear by Monika Held
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses. . .

Read More >

The Room
The Room by Jonas Karlsson
Reviewed by Peter Biello

If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads. . .

Read More >

Thérèse and Isabelle
Thérèse and Isabelle by Violette Leduc
Reviewed by Kaija Straumanis

I recently listened to Three Percent Podcast #99, which had guest speaker Julia Berner-Tobin from Feminist Press. In addition to the usual amusement of finally hearing both sides of the podcast (normally I just hear parts of Chad’s side. . .

Read More >

On the Edge
On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes
Reviewed by Jeremy Garber

Let’s not deceive ourselves, man is nothing very special. In fact, there are so many of us that our governments don’t know what to do with us at all. Six billion humans on the planet and only six or seven. . .

Read More >

Rambling Jack
Rambling Jack by Micheál Ó Conghaile
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“50 pages?”
“Including illustrations.”
“And this—what. . .

Read More >