In the introduction to Out of the Blue
it states that “Icelanders read and write more books per person than do inhabitants of any other country.” Impressive remark and certainly an attention-grabber for somebody like me. Always on the lookout for literary types I feel somewhat banished to the wilderness of my own locale. Living now in Florida, though tropical, and the outlandish opposite of Iceland, I am drawn to these people who use stories to shape get-togethers as much as we might use music to dance to. These thoughts of mine added to the excitement of discovering more Ingmar Bergman types or a possible sighting of Godot making hay on the horizon. But instead I am disappointed. For the most part these tales bore me. An occasional work of interest would reveal itself from time to time, but usually the story was too simply put, straightforward and predictable. The harshness and severity of the landscape and climate felt absent from the literature. But I read on not knowing what to expect and minus any preconceived ideas I might have had when I first began this project. It made me feel bad that this collection was letting me down, and I wished almost desperately for it to be otherwise. Only a quarter of the way through and I was already feeling disheartened and threatening myself with the urge to quit.
The first story to actually grab my attention was titled Killer Whale
. The writer Gunnarsson adroitly expressed a father’s death wish resolve which heartened me and furthered my interest in plodding on into additional collected texts. But they continued to fail me. Each further entry devolved in more of the same. For a country so involved in literary matters I expected a more skilled and serious effort. The darkness I had been expecting, and openly wishing for, eluded the text. There were no budding Becketts nor Ingmar Bergmans in their midst. I flipped through the pages front to back and begged for a sentence to strike me as profound or disturbing. But it never happened. And so quit my charge.