Happy Book Birthday!
Written in a very different style than most books, this was a refreshing novel.
I was not overly thrilled with any of the characters. I almost felt as though we were intentionally kept distant from the characters’ emotions. Like the cool teenagers smoking cigarettes vibe, where they won’t let you in on their true emotions but they are happy to show you how cool they are.
The protagonist and her friend, D.J. Johnsson, are completely outsiders. The protagonist is a writer, but because she’s a woman, she’s not seen as equal. She often writes under pseudonyms because publishers sometimes tell her her works are not in the style that women write in, and therefore they will not publish her works. Despite these pitfalls, she has been published many times and is now working on a novel. She wants to have a man around, but not to limit her, mostly just for sex.
D.J. Johnsson has struggles of his own. Because he is queer, he cannot have an open relationship in their town. He feels ostracized and isolated. He constantly worries about his ability to persevere through life. He is unhappy with his job, and he wants to leave Iceland, to see if there is something better out there.
I had a really hard time figuring out what decade this book was from, although Goodreads tells me it’s the 1960’s, which makes a lot of sense. The writing style is very modern, although their troubles can only make sense to be set many decades ago. I visited Iceland once, so I was able to recognize some of the geography. I enjoyed reading a book set in Iceland, as I have never read another quite like it.
The writing is dry, but hopeful. The women are funny, and I enjoyed the letters written back and forth. I enjoyed the whiny poet bit. I was pleased that the relationships fell so far outside of the norms, for both today’s time and for the 1960’s.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.