tirsdag den 8. december 2009

Arnaldur Indridason, Vinterstaden (2007)


[Svensk, men kan vel forventes på dansk inden så længe]

Stedet er Reykjavik i januar, og Vinterstaden er den femte krimi hvor vi møder teamet Erlendur, Elinborg og Sigurdur. På første side finder de ti-årige Elias død i en blodpøl, som allerede er frosset til is. Han kan være faldet ned fra en altan fra boligblokken bag dem, men der kan også være tale om mord, og da Elias er af islandsk-thailandsk afstamning, frygter politiet racistiske motiver.

Det viser sig snart, at Elias er død af knivstik, og Erlendurs team begynder med at se nærmere på den nærmeste familie. Elias´ mor Sunee er fraskilt og må arbejde hårdt for at forsørge sin tiårige søn og hans femtenårige halvbror Niran, som tydeligvis er stærkt påvirket af sagen. Før politiet kan få klarhed over, hvad han eventuelt ved om drabet på sin lillebror, forsvinder Niran imidlertid. Ud over racismemotivet undersøges det, om Elias´ død har tilknytning til pædofili eller mobning på hans skole.

Ligesom i de tidligere historier, fylder Erlendurs privatliv og hans problematiske forhold til de to voksne børn en del, og det vil derfor være en god idé at læse bøgerne i den rigtige rækkefølge. Som barn mistede han sin lillebror i en snestorm, og Erlendur har aldrig været i stand til at slippe sin skyldfølelse over, at han selv overlevede, men ikke kunne redde sin bror. Dette traume lægger en dæmper på hele hans liv og præger hans forhold til børnene. Erlendur ser savnede og forsvundne personer som et gennemgående tema i islandsk historie.

Et fint vinter-mysterium, som vil få dig til at glemme den mørke, danske vinter.

Arnaldur Indridason, Arctic Chill (2008)
This Icelandic crime novel takes place in January, and for the fifth time we meet the team Erlendur, Elinborg and Sigurdur. In the first chapter they find ten-year-old Elias dead in a pool of blood which is already frozen. He may have fallen from the balcony of the block of flats behind them, or have been murdered, and as Elias is half Thai, they fear racim may lie behind his death.

It is soon clear that Elias has been stabbed to death, and Erlendur takes a closer look at his nearest family. His mother Sunee is divorced and has to work hard to support Elias and his fifteen-year-old half brother Niran who is strongly affected by the case. Before the police have a chance to question him properly, he disappears from home, however, apparently assisted by his mother. Apart from racism, possible motives are paedophilia or bullying.

Like in the earlier novels, Erlendur´s private life and his problematic relationship with his two grown-up children also form an important theme so reading the books in order will be a good idea. As a child Erlendur lost his younger brother in a snow storm, and he has never been able to get over a feeling of guilt because he survived but could not save his brother. This old trauma colours Erlendur´s life and the relationship between him and his children, just as he sees lost or missing people as a recurrent theme in the history of Iceland.

A fine winter mystery that will make you forget the dark and cold December weather.

12 kommentarer:

Maxine sagde ...

Very nice review, Dorte. As usual, I was very absorbed in this book and liked it a lot, though the story of the boy's death was very sad. I liked the way the author looked at the various Thai=Iceland issues. I know that some people felt this was not one of his best when it was shortlisted for the International CWA dagger earlier this year, but it has a haunting quality and lives on in the memory. I do think Arnaldur Indridason is a wonderful author, so economically (laconically?) conveying deep emotion.

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks very much for this well-written review. I've read several good reviews of this novel, and yours is really finalizing my decision to move it up on my TBR list.

Dorte H sagde ...

Maxine and Margot: there was so much more I could have written about this novel. I even have some notes somewhere, but the weekend was very busy socially, as you know, and these two workdays have been so long. It is a fine story, though, and I think ´laconic´ covers the style very well.

- I am looking forward to hearing what you think about it, Margot.

Anita sagde ...

I have read five of Indridason's novels (in Norwegian), and I like them all!

R. T. sagde ...

Dorte, I boldly consider myself the #1 North American fan of Arnaldur Indridason's novels (though I have plenty of rivals), and I agree with you about the nuanced power of Arctic Chill; my mind is unclear still about which of the Erlendur novels is my favorite, so I simply declare them all equally remarkable and highly recommended. To my mind, Indridason is the best writer working in the genre today.

Dorte H sagde ...

Anita: yes, he is a fine writer.

R.T.: I couldn´t say which ones of them is the best, either, I just know that The Voices is NOT my favourite :D

Elizabeth Spann Craig sagde ...

Great review, Dorte! I'll put this one on my list.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Dorte H sagde ...

Elizabeth: I am glad you all think this is a good review, because Indridason is such a great writer that he really deserves it (I just felt really tired and uninspired when I wrote the English version).

farmlanebooks sagde ...

I have a copy of this book, but didn't realise it was part of a series when I bought it. Do you think it would work as a stand-alone novel, or do I need to buy the rest of the series first?

Dorte H sagde ...

Jackie: no, it is not a series in the sense that the criminal cases are not solved to the readers´ satisfaction in each book. It is just easier to follow Erlendur´s private story if you read them in order. If I were you, I would just begin with this one, and if you like him as much as I do, you can read the rest of them in order.

Maxine sagde ...

For us ignorant souls who only read English, we have no choice anyway, because the first two have not been translated yet. Whether that is because they are not so good, or whether for some other reason, I have no way of telling.

Dorte H sagde ...

Maxine, as I cannot read Icelandic, I don´t have access to the first two either. I can read Norwegian quite easily, and Swedish is not too bad, but Icelandic is a very conservative variety of North Germanic.