A young woman walks into the frozen fjords of Iceland, never to be seen again. But Matthildur leaves in her wake rumours of lies, betrayal and revenge. Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for Matthildur but also for a long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snow-storm when they were children has coloured his entire life. He is looking for answers.
Slowly, the past begins to surrender its secrets. But as Erlendur uncovers a story about the limits of human endurance, he realises that many people would prefer their crimes to stay buried.
©2010 Arnaldur Indridason 2010. English translation copyright © Victoria Cribb 2013 (P)2013 Isis Publishing Ltd, Random House Audiobooks 2013
I have read others by Indridason. This is not really a crime novel, more a poetic exploration of loss and death. That makes it sound grim, and it is in places. It is also slightly supernatural, almost a ghost story.
This was the first I heard as an audio book. It was a revelation! Saul Reichlin is an excellent reader. It was a pleasure to hear the Icelandic names pronounced neatly, and his measured delivery fitted the story perfectly. Also I enjoyed the writing a lot more than I did when reading it. I am a fast reader, and have a tendency to skip the slower-moving parts. Listening to the book being read to me, skip-reading was not possible, so I found I entered much more deeply into the world of the story.
...and avoid the Amazon spoilers for this as it is, in all likelihood, the last. Ironic that it is the first of his books to be available on Audible. Beautifully read, simply written, gloomy and gruesome and tender. Of all the Nordic noir writers, Indridason is the most soulful. Not all the books in the series are as effective - they dip when Erlandur is not the main protagonist - nor are they always similar in mood or intent, but this, the seeming last of them, is one of the best.
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