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Land of Love and Ruins (Paperback)
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"Oddny Eir is an authentic author, philosopher and mystic. She weaves together diaries and fiction. She is the writer I feel can best express the female psyche of now and has bridged the gap between rural Iceland and Western philosophy. A true pioneer " --Bjork
The winner of the EU Prize for Literature, Land of Love and Ruins introduces a daring new voice in international fiction: Oddny Eir. In the wake of Iceland's financial crisis, a young author, recently separated and feeling out the uncertain terrain of a new relationship, finds herself questioning the foundations of our love and family lives, our bonds to country and the earth. Stirred by a dream about an old Viking woman on a pilgrimage, she sets out on a quest to the the ruins of the homes of her ancestors, where they tried to live in harmony with nature and each other. Her guiding questions are as essential as their answers are elusive: How do we create a home for love? How can we nourish personal space while sustaining intimacy and desire with a partner? How can we go, not back, but forward to nature?
Drawn both to her archaeologist brother and her ornithologist lover, she explores alternate forms that those relationships might take. Her search brings her all over Iceland and abroad to Paris, Strasbourg, Basel, and the Lake District home of famous Romantic siblings Dorothy and William Wordsworth. Written in the form of a diary that pans from small details to big questions and weaves elements of philosophy, history, archaeology, ecology, eroticism, and literature into a beautifully patterned whole, Oddny Eir invents a new, intimate language between writer and reader in this enchanting book about being human in the modern world.
About the Author
Oddny Eir AEvarsdottir (1972) is an Icelandic author. She has received advanced degrees in political philosophy from the University of Iceland and The Sorbonne. In addition to publishing four novels and several books of poetry and essays, she has worked in the art world as a lecturer and gallerist, has received a grant to study archives and museums in Iceland, has been an environmental activist, and has collaborated with the musical artist Bjork in composing lyrics for her albums Biophilia and Vulnicura. Land of Love and Ruins won the EU Prize for Literature and the Icelandic Women's Literature Prize. Oddny Eir lives in the Icelandic countryside, by the glacier Eyjafjallajokull. Philip Roughton is an award-winning translator of Icelandic literature, currently residing in Reykjavik. He earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with specialties in medieval Icelandic, medieval Chinese, and Latin literature, and wrote his dissertation on medieval Icelandic translations of saints' and apostles' lives. He has taught modern and world literature at CU-Boulder, and medieval literature at the University of Iceland. His translations include works by many of Iceland's best-known writers, including the Nobel laureate Halldor Laxness, Jon Kalman Stefansson, Bergsveinn Birgisson, Steinunn Siguroardottir, and others. He was recently awarded the 2015 American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Competition Prize, for his translation of Halldor Laxness' novel Gerpla (Wayward Heroes).