Sunday, April 10, 2011

A good read

I've been reading the book The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason. It's a crime novel set in Iceland, the home of the author. I'm not finished with it but I'm thoroughly hooked. I was hooked enough to open up Google Earth and descend, virtually, on the small island of Iceland and tour some of the spots described in the book. Such as Hafnarfjordur. Say that three times, fast. Heck, say it once! The photos don't tell me the temperatures but they are uniformly lovely. The aerial views seem to indicate that everything is 'neat and tidy'. And the roads! Wide roads with beautiful sweeping interchanges, but where are all of the people? The photos almost all show deserted vistas both in towns and out on the highways. Unfortunately, Google hasn't sent their camera cars to Iceland so you can't take a virtual tour street by street at ground level, but you can click on the hundreds of photo opportunities and get a good sense of the place. Enough so that I want to go. Unfortunately I will have to go alone as my wife had already read the novel and sensed that it was never 'really' warm in Iceland (Duh!'s called Ice-land for a reason!). For her, vacations are in warm places.

In the book, the police detective, Erlendur Sveinsson, is not at all like any detective novel 'hero' that you read about before. He is a tormented and lonely soul. His children hate him and he's hated by his ex-wife. Odd, but he reminds me a great deal of Kurt Wallander, the Swedish detective in the novels by Henning Mankell. That's another author that's a favorite of mine. Maybe it's the long dark winters of the sub polar regions that gives these authors such a tortured view in their books. Iceland sits astride the Arctic Circle and isn't all that far from Sweden…and it's really dark all winter long. In fact, the author notes that depression is a major problem in Iceland.

But I'm going in the summertime when the sun never sets! I guess I'll have to bring my wife some souvenirs…

No comments:

Post a Comment