Read and discuss Scandinavian literature in translation as part of the Scandinavia House’s Nordic Book Club, now online! Each month the organization selects a novel from some of the best Nordic literary voices. Discussions have typically taken place the last Tuesday of the month at Scandinavia House but will now be taking place bi-weekly as an online meeting. Learn more here.
On September 22, the book club will discuss Miss Iceland by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, winner of the Icelandic Book Prize and the Prix Médicis étranger. In 1960s Iceland, Hekla has always known she’s wanted to be a writer. But in a nation of poets, where households proudly display leatherbound volumes of the Sagas and where there are more writers per capita than anywhere else in the world, she has one problem: she is a woman. After packing her few belongings and heading to Reykjavik with a manuscript in tow, Hekla moves in with her friend Jon, a gay man who longs to work in theater, only to find her opportunities limited: marriage and babies, or her job as a waitress, in which harassment from customers is part of the daily grind. The two find themselves feeling completely out of place in their small and conservative world. And yet that world is rapidly changing, amid global events like the assassination of JFK and the increasing rise of hemlines. When Hekla meets a poet who reminds her of harsh realities about her art, she realizes that she must escape to find freedom abroad — whatever the cost.
A novel of extraordinary and masterful acuity from one of Iceland’s most celebrated writers, Miss Iceland follows the captivating journey of a young woman on the cusp of worldwide change.
Book club participants will all appear online at the start of the meeting when they log in so that they are able to take part in the conversation. For participants who would prefer not to be visible onscreen, see an easy tutorial online here on how to set a profile image that will appear onscreen instead.
Featured Image Credit: Scandinavia House, http://www.scandinaviahouse.org/