cover image Touch


Olaf Olafsson. Ecco, $28.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-322698-2

Olafsson (The Sacrament) imagines how two people confronting the pandemic reconsider their futures in Reykjavik and Japan. After increasing lockdown restrictions, widower Kristófer Hannesson, 74, shutters his restaurant. Then he receives a friend request on Facebook from Miko Nakamura, the one who got away in the late 1960s. Miko had been hospitalized with Covid, and without telling her, Kristófer buys a plane ticket to Japan to see her. While waylaid in London by canceled flights, Kristófer decides “to confront a few things [he’s] avoided thinking about.” He recalls his youth in the city when he dropped out of the London School of Economics and started working at Miko’s father’s Japanese restaurant, where he fell in love with Miko. He also wrestles with his more recent past in Iceland, including misunderstandings with his stepdaughter, how he’s blamed others for his choices, and having to accept his true feelings for his late wife. A languid tone belies the horrifying secret about why Miko and her father suddenly disappeared 50 years earlier, but the gratifying ending is hopeful. It adds up to an affecting story about the sway one’s past can hold on the present. Agent: Gloria Loomis. Watkins/Loomis Agency. (Aug.)