Monday, August 2, 2010
A review of Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indridason (Harvill Secker 2009; 2007 Icelandic)
Hypothermia is a book that slowly draws you in, wraps a warm blanket around you and envelopes you in intricately woven narrative layers. Indridson’s skill is in the plotting and pacing of stories; in placing his readers in the landscape and culture of Iceland and capturing the humdrum interweaving of lives, the mundane and everyday conflicts and betrayals, and exploring the small and petty things that people do to each other. The under-stated narrative is driven by a steady pace and emotional register, rather than high tension or drama, with the same questions about love, loss, guilt and life after death repeated discordantly with respect to the cases Erlunder investigates and his own life. The result is a book with qualities like a fine wine – a subtle but complex blend of colours, smells and tastes rather than the whiz-bang of a rollercoaster. Hypothermia is a fine addition to the Erlunder series which has developed into a strong and satisfying set of stories that make perfect reading for wet and windy nights.