Review Some Facts

Ef maður vill stela í þjó­fafélagi, þá verður að stela samkvæmt lögum; og helst að hafa tekið þátt í því að setja lögin sjál­fur.” H. K. Lax­ness Nóbelsverðlauna hafi í bók­men­n­tum

If you want to steal in a thieves com­pany, then ýou have to steal by law; and prefer­ably to have par­tic­i­pated in plac­ing the law your­self. ”  (Atomic Sta­tion 1948) H. K. Lax­ness Nobel Prise Lit­ter­a­ture

034Although it is sixty years since it was writ­ten that Ice­landic satire remains a potent tale of polit­i­cal and class absur­dity. Nar­rated by Ugla – a self defined “clod-hop­per”, ‘crude and clump­ing girl from the north’ – who has moved to the city to act as house­maid for her local Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment and learn the har­mo­nium, this tale of polit­i­cal and social hypocrisy cen­ters on a deci­sion to sell part of the coun­try to pro­vide a US/NATO air­base as part of Cold War anti-Soviet pol­i­tics. Amid the ensur­ing furore, the left claims its class posi­tion while the gov­ern­ment seems to rouse up nation­al­ist favor to obscure its ‘sale of the nation’.

This crude descrip­tion fails to do the novel jus­tice, as Ugla appears as both wide-eyed ingénue bewil­dered by the goings on around her, and the most dis­ci­plined and ratio­nal per­son in a world that seems irra­tional. Her narrator’s voice shifts between bewil­dered out­sider, naive observer and sharp critic, often in the same para­graph – she is sharp voice in lit­er­a­ture and an admirable char­ac­ter.

The world she finds her­self in piles seem­ing irra­tional­ity on absur­dity: the polit­i­cal right claims to be defend­ing the nation while sell­ing it off.

 

 

CAPITAL CITY REYKJAVIK
110000
GOVERNMENT
1
POPULATION
325000
VOLCANOES
130

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