2012-13 Runner Ups

We had a wonderful selection of nominees for our second INL Reads! book. While the winner was “What the Bear Said,” by W.D. Valgerdson, here are the other finalists:

Baldur’s Song A Saga
By David Arnason

Baldur’s Song is the Ode to Joy.   From New Iceland to the boom town of Winnipeg, we follow this ardent young man who is seeking out his fortune while also persuing the love of Lara who seems to always be just beyond reach.  She is from an affluent family while Baldur certainly does not see himself as such.  David weaves music into the soul  of the text throughout the  book.  There is the character Johnny Ashdown who influences Baldur, and they work together in the real estate business when Winnipeg was growing very rapidly.

David’s prose is easily accessible and always colourful.

The book is written in the style of a saga, hence the name. All the family is well described.  Hints of the Arnason family history are visible at times.

Where the Winds Dwell
By Bodvar Gudmundsson
Published by Turnstone Press in 2000

Where the Winds Dwell is a journey through time, tradition  and human spirit.
The story evolves from a shoebox of old letters that the narrator has brought with
Him on an opera tour to Canada.  From dire poverty in Iceland under the Danish rule
He discovers the story of his great grandfather life both in Iceland and Canada.
Gudmundson very cleverly weaves much  of our history in the saga of Olaf Fiddle.
Some facts are distorted but only to make the fictional story flow smoothly.  By the name you realize that music features strongly in the story.  Some may recognize
Personalities from our shared history.  This book was first published in Icelandic
In 1995 and won the Icelandic Literary Award in 1996.  There is a sequel to this book  that has still not been translated into English

Tricking of Freya
By Christine Sunley

The narrator Freya Morris is a young woman on a journey through her family’s history.

“ While her inner and outer quest to make sense of her family, her past and an unfortunate accident make a compelling read, there is much more here than a mystery and a chronicle of self-discovery,”  as quoted by Kris Perlmutter.

Sunley who was raised in eastern USA knew very little about her background.  She travelled to Canada and Iceland in search for her material and her story.  The characters in her story could well be from any of our families as they  possess  personalities  and traits that we understand. Her exceptional skill at observing and noting so much of our culture makes this a very captivating read.
Christina also visited many clubs on the International Visits program.

Ashes to Dust
By Yrsa Sigurdardottir

This mystery by the prolific writer Yrsa takes  the reader into an area of the Westman Island where a volcano has erupted.  Her heroine, Thora Gudmunsdottir  is sent to defend a young man when his sweetheart has been murdered.  Bodies are found in excavated houses on the island.   Thora finds that the local residents seem oddly reluctant to vouch for him.
This is the third crime novel written by Yrsa.  Her writing is as quoted, “tense, taut and terrifying”  Her plots and characters are extremely well developed and thought provoking.  For those of us who have been to Iceland the feel of the environment is very real. Many will know of Yrsa as she toured under the banner of the International Visits program.   The movie industry is definitely interested in her work as it Would lend easily to film.  Each of her books stand alone although Thora , the overworked lawyer remains the constant in all of them.

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