Iceland, Icelander, Icelanding

Halldór Laxness by Einar Hákonarson, 1984
Halldór Laxness by Einar Hákonarson, 1984

For me, one of the more fun and exciting parts of meeting people who write stuff for a living comes when you skip onto something, appreciate it, and, looking back at the byline, realize a respected colleague has written it. That’s more or less what happened the other day when I followed a link from Arts and Letters Daily to this article, “Becoming Halldór Laxness” at the incipient The National out of the UAE. Turns out, it’s pal (and old roommate) Sam Munson reviewing restless Iceland native Laxness’ The Great Weaver from Kashmir. Munson says it bears resemblance to “other works of hectic spiritual heroics” such as Knut Hamsun’s Hunger, which is enough for me to check it out.

In other news barely related to our credit-crunched North Atlantic friends, another chum, Dustin Long, who wrote a novel called Icelander, has provided some year-end recos over at The Millions.

To continue this terribly tenuous connection, I had an icy landing on Friday, barely escaping New York’s snowfall to be blown headlong into a huge Michigan dump. And guess what was on TV that night? Well, Johnny, nothing but a beautiful documentary about an Icelandic band Sigur Rós, Heima.

So, Nick, you ask, what’s the takeaway? And of course I ignore you because “takeaway” is one of those terrible beige middle management words we should actively conduct disgust towards. I guess, though, check these books out, if you’re interested, or have some late-game gift-giving to do for someone who loves reading.

I’m in my own private Iceland in Michigan for a few weeks, but I’ve recently uncovered some childhood treasures I want to bring to you soon, a little treasure trove you can consider your holiday treat.

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