Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Day is Dark - Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

My review of The Day is Dark first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. It is appearing here today with their permission. Also, you may want to note at the bottom of my blog, the Shelf Awareness widget has the most recent contest and it features Harlan Coben's new thriller, Six Years.

First line: "Oddný Hildur looked away from the computer screen, took the headphones from her ears and listened."

The fourth book in Sigurdardóttir’s series featuring Thóra Gudmundsdóttir takes the lawyer protagonist and her significant other, Matthew Reich, on an adventure in the east coast wilderness of Greenland, where Reich’s bank is investigating the disappearance of two Icelanders working on a mining project. The remainder of the project workers refuse to return to the job site claiming the area is cursed, leaving Reich’s bank on the line to pay out a contractual insurance claim.

When Thóra, Matthew and the team they are traveling with arrive in Greenland, they discover there may be more to the curse claim than meets the eye. The two workers aren’t the first people to go missing from this area, and they may not be the last.

The cold, dark environs of Greenland parallel the tone and title of Sigurdardóttir’s The Day is Dark. A small village of Greenlanders is the only settlement near the mining project, and the villagers suffer not only the meteorological effects of the area, but also the frozen economy and the ghosts of their forefathers. Many suffer from alcoholism. The chilling effect of the novel is almost as strong physically as it is psychologically.

The spiritual tones woven throughout add a layer of complexity to the plot. Sigurdardóttir’s treatment of this spirituality is both respectful and intriguing, with the contrast between the science and the myth beaconing readers to challenge their own beliefs. The prose is at times awkward and wordy, but this may be attributable in part to the translation. The beauty of the story is still clear and dark. Readers looking for a Norwegian thriller fix, look no further.

The Day is Dark is available in available in both hardcover (ISBN: 978125001899) from St. Martin's Griffin and paperback (ISBN: 9781250029409) from Minotaur Books.  


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