Steinunn Sigurðardóttir: Góði Elskhuginn [The Good Lover]


The latest addition to my website is Steinunn Sigurðardóttir‘s Góði Elskhuginn [The Good Lover]. This is another excellent novel by Sigurðardóttir about the problems of love. Karl Ástuson has spent much of his adult life outside Iceland, after the death of his beloved mother and the break-up of his relationship with Una. During that time, he had a succession of casual affairs, often only one-night stands. The only one that made any impression on him was with Doreen Ash, a psychiatrist. The sex was routine but they started talking afterwards and she told him about her practice (of which she was tired) and also that too many men were spoiled by an adoring mother (Karl himself had been). Nevertheless, she characterised him as a good lover. He decides, on a whim, to return to Iceland after seventeen years, to try and find Una. He finds her without difficulty but is reluctant to go in, not least because she is married. He goes to a bar where he meets a woman, who turns out to be Una’s next door neighbour and it is she that brings them together. Una is very keen to leave her husband and the pair set off for the South of France, where he has a house, immediately. They then move to Long Island, where he also has a house, and where they seem to be living an idyllic existence. Then he meets Doreen Ash again. She is about to publish a book – part novel, part psychiatric analysis – called The Good Lover – and it seems to be about him. This is a very good book about love and its complications but, sadly, it is not available in English.

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