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Posted: November 22, 2020

In no rush to read another book by this author

Book Review

By Derryll White

Sigurdarottir, Lilja (2016).  Trap.

Quentin Bates does a masterful job of translating ‘Trap’ from its original Icelandic into English.  He is sensitive to both tone and meaning.

The author builds the story on tension – between characters, circumstances, legal constraints and sexual desires.  It is an ever-changing landscape with the dark feelings of cocaine and hate pitted against the light of mother-love and mutual respect.  This is not a story in which the reader can relax.

Lilja Sigurardottir tells a story of financial crime and drug trafficking, and she tells it in a slightly murky manner.  She does not take advantage of the wonderful celebrated physicality of Iceland.  Nor does she use the strength and beauty of the Icelandic people, the rugged strength they have at their core.

She focuses on the small details of transactions and the edgy tensions people generate between each other. And the ending of the story fades unsubstantially. I will not rush to read another of Lilja Sigurardottir’s novels.


Excerpts from the novel:

ADVICE – It was as if Sonja had breathed new life into the guilt that her mother had rid her of when she was just 10 years old.

“Guilt is what causes women the most problems in life,” her mother had said.  “If you can lose the guilt, you’ll be free.”

“…Take a look at your brothers,” her mother ha said.  “They don’t have regrets.  They just forget and carry on.  They put it all behind them.  You can’t change the past anyway, so why let it worry you?”

REYKJAVIK – It turned out that the Voice of Truth’s name was Marteinn and he lived in a basement flat on Grettisgata, one of the residential streets in the downtown district close to Langavegur, mostly lined with small, traditional-style timber houses clad with corrugated iron in various colours, so the street would have looked like a rainbow if it were not for some planners in the 1970s allowing hulking concrete blocks to be built between the wooden buildings.

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.

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