And The Wind Sees All, by Guðmundur Andri Thorsson, tr. Björg Árnadóttir & Andrew Cauthery

wind sees

Who could believe that a book which covers just a two-minute timespan could tell the story of an entire village? It’s a TARDIS in book form!

As Kata, the conductor of the village choir, cycles to the village hall to prepare for the evening’s concert, the stories of all the people she passes gradually unfold in gentle and lyrical style. Not everyone’s tale is a happy one: the lonely priest struggles with alcoholism and a gambling addiction; the reserved foreman of the refrigeration plant has shut himself away, overwhelmed by traumatic childhood memories.

But there is also stillness and hope: the poet waiting patiently near the shore for a poem to nestle quietly into his mind; the brother and sister who haven’t talked to one another for many years, but are about to bump into one another.

And what exactly is the story of Kata Choir herself – what brought her all the way from Slovakia to this quiet Icelandic fishing village?

Told with a charming and gentle honesty for the frailties of human existence, this book is poetry in rhythmic prose. Well worth the couple of hours it will take to read.

Published by the lovely Peirene Press who specialise in translated fiction, this is my candidate for Novellas in November (see Reading in Bed and Another Book Blog for more details).

Deli counter verdict: a brauoterta with a Scooby snack number of fillings for its size.

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