The Day Is Dark

Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Author
Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, trans. from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton. Minotaur, $14.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-02940-9
Reviewed on: 12/17/2012
Release date: 02/26/2013
Icily compelling, Sigurdardóttir’s fourth Thóra Gudmundsdóttir thriller (after 2012’s Ashes to Dust) explores one of Earth’s least hospitable regions, Greenland’s east coast, where workers at a remote molybdenum mining site have disappeared. Thóra, a lawyer bored by her routine case work, flies to Kulusuk to investigate, accompanied by her lover, Matthew Reich; her secretary, Bella; and a team of six specialists, each with his or her own peculiarities. On their arrival, they face isolation, ferocious cold and wind, and the possibility of lethal disease. Eerie natives warn Thóra and the other “outsiders” to leave immediately, but she soldiers through to a complicated solution involving an improbable psychiatric-disorder subplot. The wry humor of the author’s earlier novels is largely absent as Thóra confronts homophobia and global warming—and conveys deep sympathy for the “gloomy and hostile” Inuit, who eke out a minimal living, beset by superstition, poverty, alcoholism, and environmental toxins. (Feb.)