Land of Love and RuinsBy Oddny Eir
The winner of the EU Prize for Literature, Land of Love and Ruins introduces a daring new voice in international fiction: Oddný Eir. In the wake of Iceland’s financial crisis, a young author, recently separated and feeling out the uncertain terrain of a new relationship, finds herself questioning the foundations of our love and family lives, our bonds to country and the earth. Stirred by a dream about an old Viking woman on a pilgrimage, she sets out on a quest to the the ruins of the homes of her ancestors, where they tried to live in harmony with nature and each other. Her guiding questions are as essential as their answers are elusive: How do we create a home for love? How can we nourish personal space while sustaining intimacy and desire with a partner? How can we go, not back, but forward to nature? Drawn both to her archaeologist brother and her ornithologist lover, she explores alternate forms that those relationships might take. Her search brings her all over Iceland and abroad to Paris, Strasbourg, Basel, and the Lake District home of famous Romantic siblings Dorothy and William Wordsworth. Written in the form of a diary that pans from small details to big questions and weaves elements of philosophy, history, archaeology, ecology, eroticism, and literature into a beautifully patterned whole, Oddný Eir invents a new, intimate language between writer and reader in this enchanting book about being human in the modern world.