Book review: History. A Mess. by Sigrun Palsdottir (Iceland)

How many pages I wonder? Have been reading books translated into American “English” recently which feels poorly translated!!

Imogen is Reading and Watching the World: On Books, Film, Art & More

Transated by Lytton Smith

This newly re-published book (February 2023) was sent to me for review by the people at Peirene. I’ve long admired the USP of Peirene, a small publisher of contemporary, high-quality European novellas in translation. Unfortunately, our house is being renovated at great length, and I lost the book in the boxes and rubble for a while, but it eventually resurfaced for a photo.

First published in Icelandic in 2016 (and in an English translation elsewhere in 2019), the story revolves around a PhD candidate researching the life and work of an obscure artist, who believes she has stumbled upon a mind-blowing revelation in the course of her historical research.

When it dawns on her, however, that in her haste to draw professionally-useful conclusions she has made a fatal error, her working premise implodes. She enters an all-consuming spiral of denial, shame and paranoia.

The book’s style…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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