I is for Iceland

Posted by & filed under Not just dead authors.

I is for Iceland by Arnaldur Indridason, Hannah Kent
Genres: Historical, Mystery

There are a lot of places that I would like to visit – Prague, and Norway, and Banff, British Columbia. One of them is Iceland.

I am fascinated by the culture and the geography.


There is a series written by an Icelandic author and set in Reykjavik that I really enjoy: the Inspector Erlender series, by Arnaldur Indridason. I’ve read several of these books, including Jar City.

jar city

Indridason has been compared to other Nordic crime writers, like Henning Mankell, whom I also love.

One of my favorite books of 2013 was set in Iceland, in the early nineteenth century.

burial rites

Burial Rites was based on the true story of the last execution in Iceland, that occurred on January 12, 1830. Agnes Magnusdottir, a farmhand, was convicted of murdering two men in March, 1828.

Burial Rites is fascinating, telling the story of the time that Agnes spends as a “prisoner” on a farm in the rural district where she was raised. Because there was no jail where she could be held, she was assigned to a family and resided with them until the date of her execution. The book tells us the story of Agnes, and the murder, and also details her effect on the family and community where she lives before her execution. Spoiler alert – this book does not have a happy ending. It is a fascinating exploration of the historical Icelandic culture, of gender relationships, of capital punishment, and of the manner in which stories are told.

Highly recommended.

13 Responses to “I is for Iceland”

    • Christine

      Yeah. Plus, employment and family time and all of those other things that interfere with reading opportunities! For example, I expect to spend a significant percentage of my weekend gardening!

  1. Marsar

    Lovely entry! I’m also fascinated by Iceland. There’s something exotic about it being so isolated.

    I’ve been meaning to read some Indridason for a while, as I love Mankell’s novels…

    • Christine

      Mankell is one of my favorite mystery authors, although I felt like the last couple Kurt Wallender novels weren’t up to the high standard of some of the earlier ones.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Carolyn

    I’ve noticed that Iceland has been popping up in a lot of posts lately. And by the photos, it’s become a really intriguing place to me now. On the list already of places to go. 😀

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