Magazine article World Literature Today

The Greenhouse

Magazine article World Literature Today

The Greenhouse

Article excerpt

Audur Ava Olafsdottir

Brian FitzGibbon, tr.

Thank you, Amazon, for your new imprint, Amazon Crossing.

Recognizing the scarcity of international literature available in English-and presumably a market for it- in 2010 Amazon launched a new initiative to provide more translated literature to an English-speaking audience. Partnering with the Icelandic Literature Fund, Amazon Crossing is releasing ten Icelandic titles. The Greenhouse, published in English in October 2011, is the first of three Icelandic titles already available to English readers.

The story is told from the point of view of a twenty-twoyear- old man, Arnljótur Thórir, whose father calls him "Lobbi." A twin, he was closer to his mother-an avid rose gardener who has recently died in a car accident-than to his father, an electrician. "I was more or less brought up in a greenhouse," Lobbi says. "I feel good in flower beds." Lobbi's father unsuccessfully pushes him to continue his studies rather than pursue his plans to leave Iceland to go restore a famous rose garden at a monastery in a country unnamed in the book. Carrying a backpack and several eight-petal roses, Lobbi heads off on his journey, aware that he is both on a pilgrimage to plant his mother's special roses in the monastery and a journey of self-discovery. …

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