A jar that used to contain pure Pacific honey is filled with words–sacrifices on the remote and almost deserted island of Flatey, west of Iceland. Witnessed by the ocean, the wind, a few birds and a wooden sculpture of the Germanic god Freyr, what emerges is a strange and beautiful poem on fertility and decay.
Acknowledged by Milan Kundera as one Europe’s major novelists, with the novel Tómas Jónsson metsölubók (1966), Guðbergur Bergsson secured his place as one of the chief modernists in Icelandic literature and, simultaneously, as one of the leading inheritors of the modern Icelandic literature of Halldór Laxness, Þórbergur Þórðarson and Gunnar Gunnarsson. His works have been widely translated, including the novel Svanurinn (The Swan). Guðbergur is also a much respected translator of world literature, and has enriched Icelandic culture with timeless masterpieces like Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Guðbergur has received several major prizes, including the Nordic Prize of the Swedish Academy in 2004, and the Spanish Royal Cross (Order ode Merito cibil) in 2010. In 2018, Lytton Smith’s Tomas Jonsson, Bestseller, the English translation of Tómas Jónsson, metsölubók, was nominated for the Best Translated Book Award (BTBA).
More information: “Flatey-Freyr by Guðbergur Bergsson”, Brick Magazine, #92, Dec. 2013. 108-112.
- Title Flatey-Freyr
Author Guðbergur Bergsson
Languages Trilingual publication
(Icelandic, English and German)
Translators Hans Brückner and Adam Kitchen
Epilogue Birna Bjarnadóttir
Cover photograph Guðbergur Bergsson and Freyr
Cover design Becky Forsythe
Year of publication 2013
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