Summer Light, and Then Comes the Night

Jón Kalman Stefánsson, trans. from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton. HarperVia, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-313647-2
Stefánsson (Fish Have No Feet) delivers a delightfully dishy look at a small Icelandic village in the 1990s. A first-person-plural narration ties things together: “We’re not going to tell you about the whole village.... You would find that intolerable. But we’ll definitely be telling you about the lust that binds together days and nights.” The director of the village’s primary employer, the Knitting Company, began dreaming in Latin many years earlier, prompting him to collect rare books and deliver lectures to the community, earning him the name “the Astronomer.” The Astronomer’s son, Davíð, works with the hefty Kjartan at the village depot, which may be haunted by the ghosts of murdered lovers from the 1800s. Kjartan, though married with children, falls for neighboring farmer Kristín. Elísabet, an employee at the Knitting Company, opens a restaurant, much to the ire of the village’s unemployed women, who claim she was unfairly advantaged. Throughout, the group focus turns from one resident to the next. There’s no overarching narrative, but it adds up to an immersive and funny portrait of a community whose members squabble and celebrate in equal measure. Readers will be hooked by the mishmash of neighborhood gossip. Agent: Monica Gram, Copenhagen Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/30/2021
Release date: 09/07/2021
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-313650-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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