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Miss Iceland
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Miss Iceland

By Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
Paperback
June 2020

The extraordinary new novel from Nordic Council Literature Prize-winning Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

Iceland in the 1960s. Hekla always knew she wanted to be a writer. In a nation of poets, where each household proudly displays leatherbound volumes of the Sagas, and there are more writers per capita than anywhere else in the world, there is only one problem: she is a woman.

After packing her few belongings, including James Joyces’s Ulysess and a Remington typewriter, Hekla heads for Reykjavik with a manuscript buried in her bags. She moves in with her friend Jon, a gay man who longs to work in the theatre, but can only find dangerous, backbreaking work on fishing trawlers. Hekla’s opportunities are equally limited: marriage and babies, or her job as a waitress, in which harassment from customers is part of the daily grind. The two friends feel completely out of place in a small and conservative world.

And yet that world is changing: JFK is shot and hemlines are rising. In Iceland another volcano erupts and Hekla meets a poet who brings to light harsh realities about her art. Hekla realizes she must escape to find freedom abroad, whatever the cost.

Miss Iceland is a novel of extraordinary poise and masterful acuity from one of our most celebrated Icelandic writers.

"An absorbing, bittersweet tale...this captivating novel’s finest component is its endearing heroine who, at her journey’s end, has learned to follow her dreams but know her limits." ―The Economist

“This quietly moving tale of friendship and artistic fulfillment will appeal to readers of Elena Ferrante and Margaret Atwood, and the unusual setting offers an interesting twist on the portrait of an artist as a young woman." ―Bookpage

,“Delicate, melancholic and powerful...a luminous portrait of a young woman in search of freedom.”―Lire

 

“Each new novel by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir is like a meeting with a marvelous friend that immediately makes you feel like you have never parted.”―Madame Figaro

 

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