I mentioned a little while ago that I was really enjoying reading an Icelandic author, Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson; I had read one of his books, ‘The Flatey Enigma’ and was just starting another book, ‘House of Evidence’. Well, I’ve finished it.
What a tremendous story, it kept me guessing right to the end, it kept me fascinated page after page, and there were surprises right up to the very last few words! It is set in 1973 and concerns the murder of a rather eccentric man who lives in a house which he has turned into a museum to his father. The novel has a parallel story line about the father, Jacob Kieler Senior, and his attempts to build a railway in Iceland; it sounds as if it might be dull, but I assure you it isn’t! It is so informative about Iceland, and the history of the country up to and through World War II, and how it became a republic free from Denmark which had previously ruled it. This history, told through the diaries of the murdered man’s father, is not just the backdrop to the novel, it is crucial… and considering the amount of detail about trains, railways, rolling stock, ballast, gauges and so on, it is amazingly interesting!
I would have liked a map to be included as Jacob Kieler and his colleagues go out investigating the country for railway routes and it would have been helpful to have seen where he planned to run his trains and to which towns… I am going to look at a map, but it would have been useful to have included it in the book. That however, is only a niggle.
The translation I read was by Andrew Cauthery and Björg Árnadóttir; they gave a lovely smooth, elegant text… their gift with language is crucial and they did brilliantly!
PS Thank you ‘I’d rather be In Iceland’ – the book does have a map – my Kindle had taken me to the first page of the story and I missed it!