Monday, 4 February 2019

And The Wind Sees All by Gudmundur Andri Thorsson

translated by Andrew Cauthery and Bjorg Arnadottir

review by Maryom

Late in the day, the mist rolls in from the sea over the Icelandic fishing village of Valeyri, and with it comes the wind, finding its way into the houses it passes and seeking out secrets ...

For now though the sun is shining. Kata, the conductor of the village choir, cycles through the village on her way to a performance they're to stage that evening. To all appearances, she seems the perfect image of a carefree young woman, but behind her cheerful exterior lies a story of pain and heartbreak. In the houses she passes people stop for a second to watch her go by, and their stories too are revealed as the mist comes creeping in. 

There's an odd mix of cosy and chilling about this Icelandic tale. Superficially the village and its inhabitants seem serene, comfortable, respectable, agreeable. But that isn't the whole story. When the wind blows through, the mask slips, the curtain lifts, and for a few seconds we see what lies behind the happy, smiling faces. The snapshots of life show old friends meeting for dinner, a poet waiting for inspiration, a forgetful old man wandering the streets; little moments of their days when they reminisce on past troubles. Kata's story is the most disturbing of all, but others hide heartache, loss, deceit.
Underlying it all, though, is an unfailing warmth. Maybe despite our many faults, and the shocks and disappointments doled out by life, people and life are basically good, after all

Maryom's review - 5 stars 
Publisher - Peirene Press
Genre - Adult Translated Fiction

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