Ólafur Jóhann Sigurðsson: Bréf séra Böðvars (Pastor Bodvar’s Letter)


The latest addition to my website is Ólafur Jóhann Sigurðsson‘s Bréf séra Böðvars (Pastor Bodvar’s Letter). This is a short tale about a retired pastor, Bodvar V Gunnlaugsson, living with his wife, Gudrid, in Reykjavik. It recounts the fairly mundane events of one day. The book starts and ends with his trying to write a letter to their daughter, Svava, who lives with her American husband on Long Island. He is struggling to find anything to say, as nothing much happens in their lives though, by the end, he has come up with some ideas. In the meantime, he performs his usual ordinary tasks, – shopping, rereading an article he had written – before the couple go out for a short walk together. During the whole of the walk, they bicker. He does not like her hat; she does not like his. He wants to feed the ducks but she is reluctant to give him any bread to do so. They meet the man who painted their previous house quite few years ago and she wants to talk to him but he cannot stand the man. This continues till they return home, still bickering. He then retires to his study to finish the letter to their daughter. It is something of a simple tale but interesting to read about a couple drifting into old age, bickering and arguing but also being forgetful and, at least in his case, feeling less and less able to do much The book has been translated into English but is long out of print and, amazingly, it is available second hand on Amazon Canada for C$31,830.39 (plus shipping)!

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