It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Karitas Untitled by Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir, translated by Philip Roughton. This is the first book in the Translated Fiction BlogTour, the second book The Homecoming by Anna Enquist is on tour in April – both books are published by Amazon Crossing.
About the Author
Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir is one of Iceland’s most acclaimed writers and the internationally bestselling author of numerous noels, including Karitas Untitled, a Nordic Council Literature Prize nominee; Street of the Mothers; Chaos on Canvas; and Seagull’s Laughter, which was adapted for the stage and also into an award-winning film.
She received her degree in 1991 from the University of iceland and has also worked as a techer and a journalist. Among Kristín Marja’s many honours are the Knight’s Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon for her achievements in writing and her contributions to Icelandic literature, the Jónas Hallgrímsson Prize, and the Fjöruverðlaun Women’s Literature Prize. Kristín Marja lives in Reykjavik.
About the Translator
Philip Roughton is an award-winning translator of many of Iceland’s best-known authors including Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness, Jón Kalman Stefánsson, Þórarinn Eldjárn, Bergsveinn Birgisson, and Steinunn Sigurðardóttir.
About the book
Growing up on a farm in early twentieth-century rural Iceland, Karitas Ólafsdóttir, one of six siblings, yearns for a new life. As an artist, Karitas has a powerful calling and is determined to never let go of her true unconventional self. But she is powerless against the fateful turns of real life and all its expectations of women. Pulled back time and again by design and by chance to the Icelandic countryside―as dutiful daughter, loving mother, and fisherman’s wife―she struggles to thrive, to be what she was meant to be.
Spanning decades and set against a breathtaking historical canvas, Karitas Untitled, an award-winning classic of Icelandic literature, is a complex and immersive portrait of an artist’s conflict with love, family, nature, and a country unaccustomed to an untraditional woman―but most of all, with herself and the creative instincts she has no choice but to follow.
It’s interesting how the young Karitas can recognise certain aspects of her older siblings needing to break free from convention and live life on her own terms, but she does so as a child and perhaps doesn’t comprehend when she goes through the same process. In the one it is perceived as flighty, egotistical and perhaps a possible betrayal of the struggling family, in the other as an existential crisis.
Does Karitas ever acknowledge that fact or does her sister remain the one that attempted or perhaps just the sister who was wilful. In her own journey she finds it difficult and even impossible to live up to expectations and adhere to conventions, and yet she does. Simultaneously the soul of the artist pushes to break free of said constraints. The question is whether the two halves of Karitas can coexist or must one half be sacrificed on the altar of emotional bonds or left to shrivel without the necessary air to breathe?
It’s beautifully written, and at this point kudos to the translator who manages to capture the beating heart of this story. The stunning, compelling and often deadly surroundings. The isolation of the area, and the way the souls of its people are forever anchored to the land. The author describes with compelling accuracy the woman torn in many directions, and the earth she belongs to, the people she loves who ask so much of her. What does she gain in return – not enough? Can it ever be enough? A riveting piece of literature.
Buy Karitas Untitled at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Amazon Crossing; pub date 1 Mar. 2022 – Paperback £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.