Best Selling Books by Gyrdir Eliasson

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Stone Tree

release date: Dec 03, 2013
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Stone Tree
** WINNER OF THE 2011 NORDIC COUNCIL LITERATURE PRIZE** Gyrðir Elíasson’s stories take us out of ourselves. Situated on the lonely western shores of Iceland, or out in the vast mountain ranges or barren lava fields of this spectacular country, each one is a study in self-exile. We follow a Boston ornithologist, speeding through the landscape in a fourby-four, chasing Arctic Terns; a schoolboy relocating to the northernmost town of Siglufjördur to compete in a chess tournament; a husband packing his wife off to visit her aunt in Sweden. In almost every story we find people taking leave of their normal lives in order to take their dreams more seriously. But even in the most desolate surroundings Elíasson’s characters find strange company; ghostly presences in the early hours, enviable neighbours, fellow writers turning up at the same retreat, with the same ambitions. Like the wide canopy of stars under which they’re told, these stories plot a constellation of single, glittering images: a child defacing a new piano with a chisel in the middle of the night; a freezer packed with carefully wrapped dead birds, candles floating in a pond at night… Elíasson’s images are always unresolved, but are also somehow complete; like the dreams he shares with us, that lead us, through their own solitude, into other people’s. As Elíasson writes, ‘all dreams are joined at the edges, like the squares in a patchwork quilt.’

Elsewhere

release date: Dec 03, 2013
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Elsewhere
What do we mean by small town? How has this innocuous term – one up from ‘village’, a couple down from ‘city’ – come to function as a pejorative? Pressed to describe what the phrase ‘small town’ conjures up, we’d be hard pushed to say anything positive: closed-minded; petty; provincial; parochial. On a broad European canvas, however, the rich traditions of short story writing challenge these preconceptions. The stories collected here are neither narrow-minded nor petty, nor do the minds of their protagonists contract to fit their environment. In Germany, a house-husband is slowly sent over the edge by his over-achieving neighbours. In the town of Odda in Norway, a middle-aged Morrissey fan has a matter of hours to find a girlfriend so his ailing mother can die in peace. It’s the small gestures – a white lie, the turning of a blind eye, a small kindness or a secret kept – that allow the characters of these communities to survive, to breathe easily within the seemingly tight strictures life there can impose. It’s how we do things round here...


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