The cold is capable of freezing time in a place like Iceland, already shaped by its nature as an island suspended in the North Atlantic, equidistant between Europe and America. What has been a unique geographical accident to narrate the ordinary exceptionally for the rest of the world that considers exotic, cold but exotic, everything that can happen in that place of summers of inextinguishable light and winters plunged into darkness.
Other current Icelandic authors such as Arnaldur Indriðason they take advantage of the circumstance to prolong that Scandinavian noir as a "closer" literary current. But in the case of Jon Kalman Stefansson the narrative essences seem to rock in new currents. Because there is a lot of magic in the contrast between the cold and the distance from the world and the human ardor that makes its way through the ice. And it is always interesting to discover in greater depth that realism made into a literary presentation, a novel with overtones of certainty that brings the idiosyncrasies of remote places closer.
Constructed from brief brushstrokes, Summer light, and then the night portrays in a peculiar and captivating way a small community on the Icelandic coast far from the tumult of the world, but surrounded by a nature that imposes a very particular rhythm and sensitivity on them. There, where it would seem that the days are repeated and an entire winter could be summed up in a postcard, lust, secret longings, joy and loneliness link days and nights, so that the everyday coexists with the extraordinary.
With humor and tenderness for human foibles, Stefánsson immerses himself in a series of dichotomies that mark our lives: modernity versus tradition, the mystical versus the rational, and fate versus chance.
You can now buy the novel «Summer light, and then the night«, by Jon Kalman Stefansson, here: