The Woman at 1,000 Degrees by Hallgrímur Helgason

The Woman at 1,000 Degrees

Hallgrímur Helgason

The growing-old-disgracefully format is a window into Herra's epic life, loves and losses. You guess her impossible abuse of family and friends, vicious black humour and outrageous sexuality are a self-defence against the horrors that C20 history has thrown at her. But you won't pity her: she is going to organise her death in exactly the same high-octane way as she lived. Her awkward attitude just makes you want to know why she is the way she is!

Extract

I found myself out in the shed with Hitler's egg, placed it in an old wooden box, and hid it under a trough. It was the end of June, so the stables were empty, apart from our ram, the one and only Sigvaldi, who was still in there. I paused by him on my way out. He stared at me stiff and strong-horned, with a macho glint in his eyes. And that's where they all should have been kept. Locked up in a sty.
The generator was silent, it was a beautiful bright evening, but there were still some small waves, dregs of the afternoon wind, breaking on the shores of the vast Djupid fjord. The nocturnal stillness was gradually approaching, and a calm had already descended on the glacial lagoon beyond. Kaldalon, Cold Lagoon, is one of the most sacred places in Iceland. My goodness, how I could just stand there watching it, and my goodness, how it soothed me. As long as I could see the fjord, every day was a Sunday to me. It was like an altarpiece in the landscape: the glacial tongue curved into the lagoon below and reflected in it almost daily, giving it the semblance of a holy picture.

Parallels
  • An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
  • Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
  • On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry

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