Icelandic literature

Not translated
Not translated

A while ago, I said I might, one day, read only books from one specific country for a few weeks. I have ruminated over this idea for a while and have now decided the time has come. The choice of country was not difficult. When I was browsing in Eymundson’s wonderful bookshop in Reykjavik, I was reminded of the number of Icelandic books in English I should be reading or should have read. On returning home, I found that I owned some forty Icelandic books (excluding the sagas) that I had not read. Most though by no means all had been translated into English. While I do not plan to read all forty I do plan to read a fair number over the next few weeks so, if you are not interested in the Icelandic novel, you may want to keep away from this blog for a while. As with most other countries, Iceland has produced quite a few novels which seem interesting but which have not been translated, though there are a few that have been translated into other Scandinavian languages. I would be interested to read Jakobína Sigurðardóttir, Pétur Gunnarsson, Jóhamar, Didda, Mikael Torfason, Runar Helgi Vignisson and others but they will probably not appear in translation and, anyway there seem to be quite enough to be keep me going for a few weeks. And I’ll start with a 1927 novel about love requited and unrequited.

2 thoughts on “Icelandic literature”

  1. Hi,
    I’m going to Iceland at the end of June, and thought it would be nice to read a few novels and/or short stories from Iceland, translated into English, and available in the USA, through Amazon or some other sites.

    I mostly read women’s fiction, some mysteries, and occasionally Sci Fi. I haven’t delved too deeply into literature from outside the U.S., although in the past few years have read a number of novels and mysteries from Sweden, some of which have touched me deeply. Also have read books from the U.K., which is certainly easier for Americans with no other languages to do!

    I’ll look at what you’ve read about Icelandic literature, and hope to find something I can find and read in English before our trip (myself and my 29 year old daughter).

    Any suggestions will be appreciated!

    Fran Landt

    • If you look at the Iceland page on my main site ( you will see links to authors, with reviews of individual books. There are quite a few women authors there. Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir’s two novels, Butterflies in November and the Greenhouse, Kristín Ómarsdóttir’s Children in Reindeer Woods, Fríða Á. Sigurðardóttir’s Night Watch and Ragna Sigurðardóttir’s The Perfect Landscape are women and readily available on Amazon. If you like quirky, you might try Sjón, a man, but very popular. Several of his works are readily available. Enjoy your trip. It’s a wonderful place to visit and the people are very friendly.


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