There’s something about most Icelandic bands that’s just pleasing. By contrast, in my mind I associate Sweden & Finland with Death Metal (and ABBA) and Iceland with Operatic Indie Folk. An belief which will probably most definitely be clear by the end of Icelandic Week.
Up now is Seabear, which was started by Sindri Már Sigfússon (who also records as Sin Fang Bous) but expanded into a full seven-piece band when Seabear was asked to open for The Books (another all-time favorite band of mine).
In the category of “Iceland Is So Small Everyone Knows Everyone,” Seabear member Kjartan Bragi Bjarnason is also in a band called Kimono that has released three albums on Bragi Olafsson’s label, Smekkleysa (which translates as “Bad Taste”).
There are a number of songs that I’d like to include from Seabear’s We Built a Fire, including Lion Face Boy, Fire Dies Down, Cold Summer, and We Fell Off the Roof, but decided to go with “I’ll Build You a Fire.” Enjoy!
“I preferred the war to the plague,” writes Curzio Malaparte in his 1949 novel, The Skin. He speaks of World War II and the destruction it has wrought on Italy, the city of Naples in particular. But the plague he. . .
With the steady rise of feminist scholarship and criticism in recent decades, it is little wonder that the work of Louise Labé should be attracting, as Richard Sieburth tells us in the Afterword to his translation, a “wide and thriving”. . .
In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a. . .
You are not ashamed of what you do, but of what they see you do. Without realizing it, life can be an accumulation of secrets that permeates every last minute of our routine . . .
The narrative history of. . .
Literature in translation often comes with a certain pedigree. In this little corner of the world, with so few books making it into this comforting nook, it is often those of the highest quality that cross through, and attention is. . .
Alessandro Baricco’s Mr. Gwyn is a set of two loosely interlinked novellas that play with narrative and the construction of character. Ably translated by Ann Goldstein, Mr. Gwyn plays some subtle metafictional games as Baricco delves into what it means. . .
I must admit upfront that I went into reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s Bombay Stories almost entirely blind. I have not read Salman Rushdie. I have read, perhaps, two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I might shamefully add that I really. . .
Throughout his work The Gray Notebook, Josep Pla mentions many different authors, some of whom have inspired him to pick up a pen. One of them is Marcel Proust. Even though Pla normally prefers nonfiction, he lauds the French novelist. . .
On that September 11th I had a conversation with a professor friend who was teaching a creative writing class that evening. He questioned, “What can I possibly teach when all of this has happened?” While the dismay and grief were. . .
In a story of two emotionally distant people, Japanese author Takashi Hiraide expertly evokes powerful feelings of love, loss, and friendship in his novel The Guest Cat. The life of the unnamed narrator and his wife, both writers, is calm. . .