gown

The latest addition to my website is Kristmann Guðmundsson‘s Brudekjolen (The Bridal Gown), the first in my March-April Icelandic novel reading fest. I am starting with an early one. This was written in 1927, four years before Salka Valka (Salka Valka), the previous earliest Icelandic novel on my site. This one is a story of love requited, love unrequited, loved denied and love gone wrong in rural Iceland but an Iceland that is, albeit slowly, starting to modernise. Björn was meant to marry Hallgerdur but she strung him along so he married Sigurn. Björn’ sister, Matthildur, wanted to marry Valgeir, Hallgerdur’s brother, but he married someone else. Hallgerdur married her head hand but really still loved Björn. When Sigurn dies in childbirth, Björn vows to keep his pledge to Sigurn and not remarry but he is still strong and handsome. Meanwhile, his and Sigurn’s daughter, Kolfinna, cannot decide between Finnur, sensitive son of Hallgerdur and Skule, tougher son of Barde, the local poet and drunk. Oh, and Kristjan, Björn’s head man, loves Matthildur. Some of these relationships work, most go wrong somewhere but we do get an interesting picture of rural Iceland early in the last century