Occasionally, the translation of an international book captures the beauty and nuance one imagines to be that of the author. Land of Love and Ruins by Oddný Eir is one such book. Written in the format of journal entries, Eir titles each entry with her location and time descriptors such as “Heathermas in late summer, quarter moon, northern lights” or “Day of Contradictions, beneath a waning moon” in place of specific dates. Even these add to the overall grace of the book. Her writing takes the reader along on her journey across the landscape of Iceland as well as the inner landscape of her thoughts and relationships. She and her brother join resources and support each other as they both move on after a break-up. Her reflections are brief, poignant, and thoughtful. They cover not only her inner life, but also moments of the intersection of her life, the life paths of her brother and her lover, and the struggles of living as an artist in a particular point in time.
For the reader wanting a view and perspective on life during an economic recession, Land of Love and Ruins is a perfect book to read. Eir does not suffer from teen angst about her future, although her book is a reflection on how her present situation affects her future. The descriptions of the land call images to mind of a place similar yet different for the reader. All in all, this is a sweet, wonderful read.
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