It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Fires by Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir.
About the Author
Icelandic author Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir studied history in Reykjavík and Salamanca and journalism at Columbia University in New York and previously worked in Copenhagen before moving back to Reykjavík, where she lives with her husband, children, and stepchildren. Her bestselling debut, Island (2016), was nominated for the Icelandic Women’s Literature Prize in 2017. Her highly anticipated third novel, The Fires, is a bestseller and viral hit in Iceland.
Larissa Kyzer is a writer and translator of Icelandic literature. She holds an MA in literary translation from the University of Iceland as well as an MS in library and information science and a BA in comparative literature. Her translation of Kristín Eiríksdóttir’s A Fist or a Heart (Amazon Crossing) was awarded the American-Scandinavian Foundation’s 2019 translation prize. The same year, she was one of Princeton University’s translators in residence.
About the book
Anna Arnardóttir has fire in her blood. – A second-generation volcanologist, she’s Iceland’s leading expert on the fire-breathing giants that could, without warning, reduce a country to ash.
Her work regularly puts her in harm’s way, but Anna never takes unnecessary risks, living an orderly, suburban life with her tax-lawyer husband and children. Then a series of earthquakes rocks Reykjavík, and Anna’s stable life is suddenly on shaky ground when she falls for Tómas Adler, a bohemian photographer.
As Anna tumbles into a passionate affair, the earthquakes take a violent turn. Small volcanic eruptions herald disaster to come, but will she trust what she knows in her heart is about to happen? Or listen to her head and risk the safety of the entire nation? Having so much of her world and what she knows about herself upended, can she trust her instincts?
The Fires is a lyrical, heart-stopping tale of survival and self-discovery about one woman’s reckoning with all she holds sacred―though it will take every fibre of her being.
Not gonna lie – the science had me gripped. The entire story managed to be a learning experience and a cracking read at the same time. It was absolutely fascinating. I also really enjoyed the way the earth, the natural catastrophe, the living world around us, became something akin to an analogy for Anna and her actions. Specifically the way her emotions, wants and needs steer her into a dangerous direction.
As the area around her begins to erupt, move and catch fire, she becomes immersed in something equally as heady and destructive. Risk, risk more – she is the volcano.
I really want to talk about the last chapter – I can’t without revealing too much. Let me just say that it brings the beauty, the pain and the lyrical prose full circle and ends with the woven nature of of coexistence between humans and the earth they walk upon. Beauty and cruelty, strength and weakness, the joy and the incredible loss.
There are so many nuances to this story that it is hard to do it justice. It isn’t just about a woman and her connection to land she lives on and with, or one about her allowing herself to grow and take a trip of self-discovery. It takes her surroundings and relationships then deconstructs every aspect of them to then rebuild. All of it is enhanced by the very specific style of writing – a constant flow of dialogue, thoughts and events without making a differentiation between any of them.
Kudos to the translator too for doing this story justice in a non-original language. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this and can’t wait to read more by this particular author. Loved it.
Buy The Fires at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Amazon Crossing pub date 1 Feb. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.