Forsķša
GÓPfrétta
Kom inn!
Bjarni Bjarnason

On
the Icelandic
Authors'
Web

Excerpts
from some
Icelandic
reviews

 

In Year 2001
Mr.
George Messo
had an
interview
with
Bjarni Bjarnason
published
in the journal:
The
Near East
Review
.

On
the icelandic
litterary
web

On
Wikipedia

Bjarni Bjarnason

Born on Nov. 9 th 1965

* On the litterary web 

* On Wikipedia

List

Andblęr

Dreams

Sunset
at the Shore.

Got first prize
in the Icelandic
National
Broadcasting
Service“s
short story
competition.

Word-document:
The story
- in Icelandic

 

List

 of published Works
- and some ..

22 Mannorš (Novel 2011)
Umręša: į Eyjunni - samtal viš eigin söguhetju
Reviews:
Gauti Kristmannsson ķ Vķšsjį (ķslenska)
Gauti Kristmannsson in Vidsja in RUV (English)
21 Bošskort ķ žjóšarveislu (Collection of essays 2009)
20 Leitin aš Audrey Hepburn (Novel 2009)
Reviews:
Aušur Ašalsteinsdóttir ķ Vķšsjį ruv (Icel)
Kristjįn Hrafn Gušmundsson ķ DV (Icel)
Parts translated to German (Deutch)
19 Draugahöndin (A Story for Children 2008)
18 Bernhard Zero (Novel 2007)
Review:
Aušur Ašalsteinsdóttir ķ Vķšsjį rśv
17 The Return of the Divine Mary (The novel from 1996 - in english)
Review - in english:
Tobias Munthe in Reykjavķk Grapewine
16 Faces (Novel 2003)
Nude Painting - a chapter in english
Review:
Jón Yngvi Jóhannsson
15 Själavård vid jökeln och Dracula - an essay in swedish 2002 where the book with that name by Halldór Kiljan Laxness is viewed through Bram Stoker's Dracula.
See here Word-document in Swedish.
14 The Cannibal Woman and her Husband (Novel 2001)
Got the Halldór Laxness Literary Prize.
13 In Year 2001
Mr. George Messo
had an interview with Bjarni Bjarnason
that was published in the journal: The Near East Review.
12 Games
Three price-winning one-act plays, shown at Išnó theatre 2000.
11 The Guardian of Silence (Novel 1999)
10 The City behind the Words (Novel 1998
Got the Tómas Gušmundsson Literary Prize from the city of Reykjavķk.
)
9 The Return of the Divine Mary (Novel 1996
nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize
)
8 Sunset at the Shore
won first priz
e in the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service“s short story competition and was broadcast twice on the radio, accompanied by piano music composed by the author himself.
Word-document:
The story - in Icelandic
7 Vķsland (Collection of earlier works together with five essays on the mind and consciousness.)
6 Today (Seven one-act plays 1993)
5 The Son of the Shadow (Novel 1992)
4 In Far-Away Land (Short stories 1990)
3 Bolder Violet (Poems 1990)
2 Untold Miracles (Prose 1989)
1 The Beginning (Poems 1989)
An early
start

 

Bjarni Bjarnason
began publishing poems
in magazines
while still in his teens
and at the age of twenty
wrote a play
which was performed
by an amateur dramatics society.

 2011

Mannorš

Repute

 

Mannorš
Repute

The publisher's introduction:

Hvaš kostar óflekkaš mannorš?

Žaš er ekki aš įstęšulausu sem Starkašur Levķ veltir žessari spurningu fyrir sér, enda hefur hann fariš huldu höfši frį bankahruni, śthrópašur og eftirlżstur fyrir sinn hlut ķ ķslenska efnahagsundrinu. Nišurstašan er sś aš eina leišin fyrir hann til aš öšlast aftur žįtttökurétt ķ samfélaginu sé aš verša sér śti um nżtt mannorš – hvaš sem žaš kostar. Žar meš fer af staš mögnuš atburšarįs sem krefur lesendann um fylgd allt til enda.

How much is a clean repute?

Vķšsjį
RŚV
1. nóv. 2011

Ritdómur

 

Gauti Kristmannsson:

Mannorš
eftir Bjarna Bjarnason
į
ķslensku
Retorķskar spurningar, eins og žęr kallašar, eiga sér yfirleitt ašeins eitt augljóst svar, žeirra er ekki spurt spurningarinnar vegna heldur svarsins fyrir fram gefna. Žaš er žvķ veršugt višfangsefni skįldverks aš varpa fram slķkri spurningu og koma meš annaš, eša jafnvel fleiri svör. Spurningin utan į kįpu žessarar skįldsögu er reyndar ekki beint retorķsk žvķ žar er einfaldlega spurt „hvaš kostar óflekkaš mannorš?“. Og žó, žvķ vitaskuld mį gera rįš fyrir žvķ aš žaš sé fyrir fram gefiš aš viš henni sé ekkert svar. Mannorš manns veršur ekki metiš til fjįr, ...
... Žaš er ekki alltaf sem žaš tekst aš svara retórķskum spurningum eilķfšarinnar meš jafn margręšum og listilegum hętti.

*  *  * Hér lestu allan ritdóminn į vef RŚV *  *   *

In
English
Icelandic National Radio:
Vķšsjį: 20 October 2011 | 16:05

Gauti Kristmannsson
on Ill Repute
by Bjarni Bjarnason


Rhetorical questions generally have a single, obvious answer. Such a question is less important in and of itself than the response it implies. It is thus a worthy undertaking for a work of fiction to put forth just such a question and then provide quite a different answer – or even more than one answer. True, the question on the cover of this book is not entirely a rhetorical one. It simply asks: What is the cost of an unsullied reputation? All the same, one naturally takes for granted that there can be no real answer to such a query. A price tag cannot be put on a person’s reputation – even if it might seem as if the value of a reputation and how it is judged vary greatly depending on the culture and the times. Horrific honour killings are, for example, attempts on the part of the perpetrators to save their own reputations. But we Westerners certainly don’t understand them that way, even though the men of the Western World were not so very long ago in the habit of settling disputes where their own reputations were at stake with a duel – ‘affairs of honour’, as they were called.

The question Bjarni Bjarnason poses in Ill Repute is not how much a person’s reputation costs but rather whether it is possible to buy a reputation in the first place. Or whether one must buy something more. If it is possible, then the answer to the second question is yes. And this is what story is all about.

Coming three years after the bank crash, it’s not surprising that this book should deal with the crisis in some way. Storytelling is and will continue to be one of our nation’s most potent medicines in coping with the misfortune that has befallen the collective Icelandic consciousness. We will be reading many poems and novels in future that reference this whole bloody mess, which in its way has already become a tiring subject for discussion. It hardly came as a shock to me that I could recognise some of the book’s characters right off the bat, and I wasn’t sure whether or not it was too soon to start dreading that this might prove to be a roman ą clef about the big bad venture Vikings. The protagonist, Starkašur Levķ, is unmistakably based on some of the figures who were most prominent in the years leading up to the crash.

My worries proved to be entirely without cause: Here, the author merely uses our general knowledge of people and events to construct a narrative that deals with other and more philosophical concerns. I felt, as I drew nearer to the end of the book, that I could classify it as philosophical realistic fantasy without being guilty of excessive hair-splitting – indeed, I suspect that the author is consciously working with this virtually threefold paradox. The big questions (and some of the small ones) are undeniably philosophical, existential; the narrative and presentation of places and events are perfectly realistic; and yet, at the same time, the actions and aims of the characters effectively enter the realm of fantasy.

One of the two main characters, the author Almar Logi, says at one point that “the tale of how the Devil comes to Iceland and profits by sacrificing the soul of an old man and then plans to sacrifice his own child to win God’s affection was a description of Iceland 2007 as he perceived it. It was not fantasy – it was realism, as would later become clear” – end of quote. This is also a sizeable nutshell into which to put the book we are reading and reading about, and in light of how the story ends, the irony is cold as nails.

The author weaves multiple literary threads into his well-crafted tapestry, the most obvious of which is perhaps the doppelgänger motif. One of two lookalikes is the disgraced entrepreneur, Starkašur Levķ, a character whose name alone brings to mind both Einar Ben’s ‘omnipresent soul’ and Jewish history. The other is the poet Almar Logi. The two men share a common destiny, involving a bid by the former to buy the reputation of the latter.

In effect, what Starkašur buys is Almar Logi’s life, for which life he sacrifices his own worthless existence. This is ultimately one of the greatest ironies of the book and at the same time the answer to the question of whether it is possible to buy a reputation. No, a man’s reputation will forever be tied to his person and his name. He can only keep his reputation if he has it in the first place. Once lost, it can never be regained unless it can be proved that this was a case of wrongful dismissal.

These two very different characters, who start out on opposite ends of a swinging pendulum and end up identical twins, serve the author well as mouthpieces of the attitudes that are so incredibly dominant here in Iceland. One example of this is Almar Logi’s response in an interview: “There’s no such thing as intellectual life in Iceland. That is to say, there’s nobody who can read the existential significance of a literary work and put it into a cultural context” – end of quote. Perhaps one hears the author’s own complaint spoken here through the voice of his alter ego, giving the doppelgänger motif an entirely new dimension and infusing it with a still greater irony when one keeps in mind the diabolical pact that the writer enters into.

Like all better authors, Bjarni avoids the pitfall of making the bad guy a purely evil character. He is the protagonist of the book, and while no attempt is made to hide the fact that the man is by nature the kind of person who would have formerly been called a bastard and might today be described as a sociopath, the reader is always given the leeway to see – and perhaps understand – his egoism. Maybe a little too well. If anything, it demonstrates just how fine a line there is between healthy egoism and pathological egotism. What’s more, if that line is crossed, there’s no going back.

To be sure, Starkašur Levķ does wish to repent, but only because he wants his former reputation and status back. He cannot genuinely repent. Although told in a traditional manner, the author’s delvings into the inner life and emotions of his characters greatly enrich the story. The author also knows how to wield the logic of realism effectively. Even in a book that is, in and of itself, a fantasy. One might compare the book to the movie Face off, where the rationale behind the doppelgänger is a simple surgical face-switch. Here, much deeper cuts are being made. What is being exchanged is, first and foremost, a soul – an inner life. The physical surgery is only a by-product, a part of the deception.

In the end, however, this is a story about sacrifice, as comes across loud and clear. Starkašur Levķ and Almar Logi both sacrifice their lives, but one of them continues to live. The most chilling thing about it is that the one who lives is the man who least deserves it. The rapacious doppelgänger, this golem of sorts, picks up where his better left off – and can do nothing else. An example, maybe, of a happy ending and a horrible end. It’s not every day that one succeeds in answering the rhetorical questions of life in such a multifaceted and astute way.

* *

2009

Bošskort
ķ
žjóšar-
veislu

Published in November 2009

Bošskort ķ žjóšarveislu - gildi, bókmenntir, samfélag
Invited to National Feast - values, litterature, communion

When questioned in September 2011 the author says:

The Invitation is a collection of essays - a kind of a wholeness.
For example there is to be found a rather lengthy essay on Halldór Laxness' Kristnihald undir jökli and its connection to Brahm Stoker's Dracula, an idea Haukur Ingvarsson later used in his book on Salmons and Įsgeir Jónsson (Bjarnasonar) now uses in his second edition of  Makt myrkranna The power of darkness. A shorter version of that paper is to be found on the internet.
See here Word-document in Swedish.

Some of the essays have been published in papers like Tķmarit mįls og menningar, Lesbók Mbl. and Ritinu and some in others and some are new for the context. 

 2009

Leitin aš
Audrey
Hepburn

The
search for
Audrey
Hepburn

Published in November 2009

Leitin aš Audrey Hepburn
The search for Audrey Hepburn

The publisher's introduction:

Bjarni Bjarnason hefur hlotiš fjölda višurkenninga fyrir verk sķn og Leitin aš Audrey Hepburn er įttunda skįldsaga hans. Lķkt og ķ fyrri verkum Bjarna einkennist frįsögnin af beittum persónulegum stķl og frumleika – stutt er ķ grįa kķmni, jafnvel galsafenginn hśmor.

Um bókina:
Gullbrandur Högnason er ęvinlega tilbśinn aš fylgja fólki śt ķ ótal hversdagsęvintżri, fólki sem segir honum hvernig hann eigi aš klęša sig, bera sig, koma fram viš konur og sleppa hugsunum sķnum lausum eins og kanķnum. Ķ Parķs, Róm, Reykjavķk og į Eyrarbakka eltir hann óljósan draum en hefur ekkert til aš halda sér ķ nema pennann og dagbókina sem gleypir umhverfiš oršrétt.

Vķšsjį
ruv
2. des. 2009
Leitin aš Audrey Hepburn

ritdómur Aušar Ašalsteinsdóttur 2. des. 2009

Aušur
Ašalsteinsdóttir
Bjarni Bjarnason er höfundur sem fer sķnar eigin leišir sem er frķskandi eiginleiki ķ litlu samfélagi. Ķ bókum hans er įvallt stórt spurt en svörin kannski ekki augljós. Žess vegna eru žęr kjörinn efnivišur fyrir žį sem vilja fįst viš lķfsgįtuna.

Ķ Leitinni aš Audrey Hepburn mętir aftur til sögunnar Gullbrandur Högnason, ašalsöguhetjan ķ sjįlfsęvisögulegu skįldsögunni Andlit, sem Bjarni gaf śt įriš 2003. Gullbrandur er hiš skrifaša sjįlf Bjarna, sjįlfiš sem hann festir į blaš, og ķ bįšum bókum eru mörkin milli Bjarna og Gullbrands lķtt merkjanleg. Ķ Andliti lżsti Gullbrandur bernsku sinni og uppvexti, hvernig rithöfundur veršur til, en ķ Leitinni aš Audrey Hepburn er komiš aš fulloršinsįrunum žar sem hann einbeitir sér aš žvķ aš kryfja samband sitt viš konur og samband sitt viš skįldskapinn.

Ķ Leitinni aš Audrey Hepburn fįum viš aš gęgjast ķ dagbók Gullbrands į völdum tķmabilum. Dagbókarfęrslurnar eru stuttar og nokkuš sannfęrandi lżsingar į aš žvķ er viršist handahófskenndum upplifunum og hugsunum frį degi til dags. Saman mynda žó dagbókabrotin vel śthugsaša heild.
Sjįlfur segir Gullbrandur aš bękur į viš Koddabók hinnar japönsku Sei Shonagon hafi oršiš til žess aš hann langar „til aš vinna meš dagbókarformiš“. Sei Shonagon skrifaši ķ kringum aldamótin 1000 nišur lżsingar į žvķ sem bar fyrir augu hennar og eyru, auk eigin hugleišinga. Gullbrandur fangar einnig ķ dagbók sķna ótal smįmyndir og andartök og segist stunda „stemningaveišar“ meš dagbókinni. (41) Žegar hann sviptir upp dagbókinni, sem hann viršist bera į sér flestum stundum, lķkir hann žvķ viš tilraun til aš „taka upp oddhvassan pennann og reka ķ gegnum stundina.“ Hann leitar aš „augnablikssögum um alla borgina“ ķ žeirri von aš ef hann klófesti žęr „fari žęr kannski aš raša sér saman og afhjśpa leyndardóminn.“ (65) Lķf hans og skrif eru žannig eilķfur eltingaleikur viš aš komast aš einhverjum undirliggjandi leyndardómi.

Gullbrandur lżsir žvķ žegar lķšur į bókina hvernig hann vinnur aš žvķ aš skrifa skįldverk śr žessum dagbókarfęrslum sķnum en ķ raun undirstrikar dagbókarformiš hversu erfitt žaš er aš draga saman merkingu śr hinu daglega lķfi. Dagbókarformiš reynir nefnilega ekki sķšur į lesandann en höfundinn. Hugleišingar og atburšir raša sér ekki endilega röklega nišur og oftar en ekki er erfitt aš henda reišur į heildarmyndinni, undirliggjandi mynstri eša žvķ hvort nokkuš mynstur er aš finna. Hér eru lesandinn og Gullbrandur į sama bįti, ķ aš žvķ er viršist vonlausri leit aš merkingu, en sś leit felur žó ķ sér lķfiš sjįlft.

Samhengiš sem Gullbrandur gefur dagbókarfęrslunum er tilraunin til aš „klifra yfir hugtakamśrinn ķ hinu stóra skjalasafni Gušs“, śr kategórķunni „mjög einmana fólk“ yfir ķ kategórķuna „mjög įstfangiš fólk“. (8) Mišaš viš žį innsżn sem viš fįum ķ lķf Gullbrands mį įlykta aš hann sé meš konur į heilanum en einmitt žessi žrįhyggja hindrar hann ķ aš finna sér lķfsförunaut. Bókin er tilraun til aš finna įstęšur žess aš hann flakkar milli kvenna įn žess aš geta bundiš sig viš eina, og rót vandans reynist vera myndin af kvikmyndastjörnunni Audrey Hepburn, ķmynd hinnar fullkomnu konu. Ef leitaš er aš kjarna kvenleikans kemur ein kona svo aušveldlega ķ staš annarrar.

Sigurjón Įrni Eyjólfsson skrifar um trśarstef ķ bókum Bjarna Bjarnasonar ķ sķšustu tvö hefti Tķmarits Mįls og menningar og segir mešal annars:

„Žaš er sem raušur žrįšur ķ gegnum bękur Bjarna, žrįin eftir endurlausn heimilis og hamingju. Hśn tekur hold ķ žeim konum sem koma inn ķ lķf hans. Ķ samfélagi viš žęr er sem lķfiš finni fyrst farveg.“ Hann bętir žvķ viš aš žaš vęri „veršugt višfangsefni aš athuga sérstaklega konurnar ķ bókum Bjarna og hin mörgu hlutverk žeirra.“

Ķ Leitinni aš Audrey Hepburn leggur Bjarni žetta verkefni ķ hendur Gullbrands sem leggst ķ greiningu į sambandi sķnu viš konur. Hann gerir meira aš segja ķ hįlfkęringi tilraun til aš greina eigin skrif ķ Andliti śt frį kenningum um Ödipusarduld en blęs svo į slķka sįlgreiningu og segir: „Žaš žarf engan sįlfręšing til aš segja mér aš ég elska konur. Žaš žarf heldur engan snilling til aš segja mér aš ég elska enga eina konu, heldur konuna sem slķka“. (149) Ķ Leitinni aš Audrey Hepburn stašfestir Gullbrandur ķ raun žaš sem kemur fram undir lok Andlits, aš meš žvķ aš kjósa skįldskapinn kżs hann einmanaleika og einangrun. Žrįin eftir endurlausn heimilis og hamingju er drifkrafturinn en til aš višhalda drifkraftinum žarf sķfellt aš slį endurlausninni į frest. Gullbrandur er alltaf į leiš frį einni konu til annarrar. Enginn einn stašur er heimiliš, segir hann, „heldur bżr mašur ķ feršalaginu“. (48) Sjįlfur hefur hann kosiš sér aš bśa ķ leitinni aš Audrey Hepburn, hinni fullkomnu konu.

Dagbókarfęrslum Gullbrands er skipt ķ fimm hluta en žrišji hlutinn, mišhluti bókarinnar, hefur algjöra sérstöšu. Eftir margra įra „örvęntingarleit“ aš Audrey kemst Gullbrandur eitt andartak ķ snertingu viš leyndardóminn mikla um lķfiš, žegar įstkona hans ķ Róm veršur barnshafandi. Žį opinberast honum eftirfarandi sżn: „Hlutverk mitt veršur aš žjóna hinum litla herra įn skilyrša, nota hvert įr til aš lyfta sólgylltri kórónunni nęr höfši hans žar til hann ber hana sjįlfur fulloršinn.“ (77)

Ķ žrišja hluta hefur Gullbrandur glataš žessum tilgangi sķnum aftur aš hluta en lifir žó fyrir endurheimt hans. Hann er skilinn viš konuna og fęr son sinn ašeins ķ heimsókn til Ķslands į sumrin. Žrišji hlutinn hefst žegar hann sękir sjö įra soninn į flugvöllinn og lżsir sumri sem žeir eyša saman. Hér hittir dagbókarformiš beint ķ hjartastaš og nęr aš koma fallegu sambandi fešganna til skila. Dagbókin snżst nś öll um drenginn og lżsir heimi barnsins, sem einfaldur og flókinn ķ senn. „Snorri segir aš ég geti vel oršiš aš litlum strįk ef ég reyni, ég žurfi bara aš sleppa hugunum mķnum lausum eins og kanķnum og elta žęr svo“, segir Gullbrandur. (83) Smįatriši hversdagsins taka völdin og vęgi žeirra veršur ljóst. Ķ žeim er hinn mikla leyndardóm aš finna.

Og žótt sumariš meš syninum markist fyrirfram af söknušinum sem fylgir óumflżjanlegri skilnašarstund og allt viršist stefna ķ sömu hringrįs örvęntingarleitar eftir aš hann er farinn, skilur höfundur viš Gullbrand undarlega hamingjusaman ķ sjįlfskipašri einangrun skįldsins. Ķ örvęntingarfullri leitinni varš skįldskapur til.

DV
ritdómur

****(*)

Ķ leit aš lķfsfyllingu

Leitin aš Audrey Hepburn eftir Bjarna Bjarnason

Sunnudagur
6. des. 2009
kl. 12:00

Kristjįn Hrafn
Gušmundsson

Bjarni Bjarnason er rithöfundur sem einhvern veginn siglir sķfellt undir radar. Honum kannski rétt bregšur fyrir žegar bók eftir hann kemur śt, skżtur upp hausnum stundarkorn, ef žaš žį gerist. En jafnharšan er hann kominn aftur undir yfirboršiš.

Nokkuš lengi hef ég ętlaš mér aš lesa bók eftir Bjarna. Fyrst lķklega fyrir tępum įratug žegar veršlaunaskįldsagan Mannętukonan og mašur hennar kom śt. Af žvķ varš ekki, ekki frekar en žegar Andlit kom śt 2003, verk sem kallaš var skįldęvisaga höfundarins og ég var spenntur fyrir, ekki sķst žar sem ég hafši frekar nżlega lesiš hinar mögnušu skįldęvisögur Gušbergs Bergssonar žar sem hugtakiš „skįldęvisaga“ kom fyrst fram. Enn var ég įhugasamur žegar Bjarni sendi frį sér skįldsöguna Bernharšur Nśll fyrir tveimur įrum, en enn og aftur lét ég hjį lķša aš verša mér śti um eintak og greip ašrar bękur śr flóšinu žaš įriš til lestrar ķ stašinn. Aš hafa bękurnar į jólagjafaóskalistanum hefur engu žarna um breytt.

Fjöldi bóka sem ég hafši lesiš eftir Bjarna stóš žvķ enn į nślli žegar ég komst aš žvķ fyrir nokkrum vikum aš nś vęru tvęr bękur vęntanlegar frį höfundinum. Varš ég žį stašrįšnari en nokkru sinni fyrr ķ aš glugga loks ķ bók eftir manninn og hugšist ég lesa bókina sem hér er til umfjöllunar, Leitina aš Audrey Hepburn. Hśn er kölluš skįldsaga bęši ķ kynningar- og kįputexta, en enn kom babb ķ bįtinn žegar einn starfsmašur į Uppheimum, forlaginu sem gefur śt Bjarna, sagši mér aš žetta vęri skįldęvisaga sem vęri ķ raun beint framhald af Andliti. Mér fannst ég ekki geta tekiš upp žrįšinn žar sem önnur bók, sem ég hafši ekki lesiš, endaši og ekki tķmdi ég aš eyša tķma ķ lestur į sex įra gamalli bók žegar mašur keppist nś viš žessar vikurnar aš lesa sem mest af bókunum sem eru aš koma nżjar śt. En svo sagši ég viš sjįlfan mig aš žetta gengi ekki lengur; žessu skringilega sambandi mķnu viš höfund sem ég hef aldrei lesiš yrši aš ljśka. Andlit yrši bara lesin ķ jólafrķinu ef Leitin aš Audrey Hepburn myndi heilla.

Og žaš gerši hśn.

Bókin hefst į mjög kśltiverušum nótum žar sem sögumašurinn, Gullbrandur Högnason, fer frį Orly-flugvelli ķ śthverfi Parķsar og inn ķ Tuileries-garšana ķ borginni įsamt myndlistarmanni nokkrum, drekkur eplasafa og ķhugar aš hefja lestur į Grįmosa Thors Vilhjįlmssonar. Ef lesandi heldur aš hann sé aš hefja lestur į žurri og steingeldri frįsögn af uppskrśfušum raušvķns- og eplasafasötrandi fagurkera į rölti um Parķs, lesandi hįfleygar bókmenntir og hlustandi į hįtimbrašar sinfónķur, žį kemst hann fljótt aš raun um aš žaš er meira fśtt ķ sögunni en žaš. Į blašsķšu nķu er Gullbrandur til dęmis kominn heim til ókunnugs manns sem hann uppgötvar aš hefur annarlegar hvatir žegar gestgjafinn bżšur honum allt ķ einu greišslu fyrir aš sitja ķ stól og lesa bók į mešan mašurinn fróar sér. Gullbrandur, sem hefur hśmor ķ töluveršu magni, segir aš honum hafi legiš svo mikiš į śt eftir žessa „frjįlslegu bręšralagsuppįstungu“ aš hann gleymdi aš spyrja manninn hvort hann vęri afkomandi Marquies de Sade.

Rithöfundurinn Gullbrandur er augljóslega byggšur į Bjarna. Ekkert framan af bókinni gerir lesanda, sem ekki kann mikil deili į höfundinum lķkt og ķ mķnu tilviki, žaš ljóst en ķ sķšari hlutanum eru Gullbrandi eignuš verk sem Bjarni hefur sent frį sér auk žess sem hann byrjar aš vinna aš bókunum tveimur sem hinn „raunverulegi“ höfundur gaf śt ķ haust. Žeir sem ekki hafa lesiš Andlit fį žar meš hugsanlegan grun sinn žar stašfestan.

Bókin skiptist ķ fimm hluta. Ķ fyrstu tveimur er Gullbrandur staddur ķ evrópskum stórborgum, Parķs įriš 1995 og ķ Róm fjórum įrum sķšar, žar sem hann skošar sig um, veltir fyrir sér żmsu į milli himins og jaršar og leggur lag sitt viš žrjįr fallegar stślkur af žremur žjóšernum. Stķllinn į žessari feršasögu, sem sögš er ķ dagbókarformi, er afskaplega afslappašur og fallegur og sumar setningar og mįlsgreinar alveg feikilega flottar. Og vangavelturnar sem Bjarni setur į blaš um žetta og hitt eru undantekningalķtiš įhugaveršar og skemmtilega hugsašar, til aš mynda śtlistun mismunarins į upplifun manns sem er einn į ferš ķ smįbę eins og Eyrarbakka og stórborg į borš viš Róm (bls. 47-48) svo eitthvaš sé nefnt.

Į vegi Gullbrands verša misįhugaveršir karakterar, žeirra eftirminnilegastur er norski ljósmyndarinn Torbjörn sem į sér bandarķska leikarann Scott Glenn sem „hreyfingarfyrirmynd“. Įstkonurnar žrjįr staldra hins vegar žaš stutt viš aš žęr nį aldrei aš hrķfa mann sérstaklega. Hin stutta uppbygging į kynferšislegu spennunni į milli Gullbrands og hinnar japönsku Ayako įšur en spennulosunin fer fram er žó vel gerš.

Ķ žrišja hluta bókarinnar eru ašstęšur Gullbrands allt ašrar en ķ stórborgarbröltinu. Žar segir frį sumarfrķi hans og sonar Gullbrands, Snorra sem er tęplega įtta įra, į Ķslandi sumariš 2008. Drenginn eignašist rithöfundurinn meš hinni yfirmįta fallegu og kynžokkafullu Sól sem Gullbrandur hitti ķ Róm, stślku sem įtti hasshaus fyrir kęrasta en var hvers manns draumur. Hvergi segir af hvaša žjóšerni Sól var en hśn hafši „bókstaflega alist upp į höfunum sjö“ af žvķ aš foreldrar hennar bjuggu ķ seglskśtu (68). Strįkurinn meš nafniš sem minnir į selinn litla ķ samnefndri barnabók er žvķ eiginlega getinn af Gullbrandi og eins konar gyšju hafsins, žar sem sólin speglar sig dagana langa. Og Gullbrandur sér Audrey Hepburn, leikkonuna ķšilfögru sem hann er meš į heilanum, speglast ķ Sól. En žeim var ekki ętlaš aš eyša saman ęvinni žrįtt fyrir žau lķkindi og aš barn hafi komi undir ķ skyndikynnum žeirra ķ Róm.

Lżsingin į samskiptum fešganna er į köflum ofbošslega falleg. Bjarni kemur listilega vel til skila vęntumžykjunni sem rķkir žeirra į milli og kvķšanum fyrir ašskilnašinum óhjįkvęmilega ķ lok sumars žegar Snorri litli žarf aš fara aftur til mömmu sinnar sem bżr ķ Noregi. Fašir og sonur ręša allt sem orš er į hafandi, allt frį flóm į mśsum til Megasartexta og sambandsins į milli tilfinningalķfs Loga geimgengils og tónlistarinnar ķ Star Wars. Ef mašur vill vera mjög rśšustrikašur er hęgt aš setja spurningarmerki viš sumar vangaveltur Snorra, hvort margir drengir sem ekki eru oršnir įtta įra myndu nokkurn tķmann hugsa eša segja hluti į borš viš aš Stykkishólmur sé ekki stašur heldur hugmynd (98) og aš smįratķnsla sé svo góš fyrir vitundina (118). En žetta er nś einu sinni skįldsaga žótt hśn sé meš rętur ķ raunveruleikanum.

Ķ sķšustu tveimur köflum bókarinnar segir frį mestmegnis einmanalegu og innihaldsrżru lķfi Gullbrands og leit hans aš lķfsfyllingu. Įn žess aš vilja segja of mikiš um nišurlag bókarinnar er nišurstašan kannski sś aš Gullbrandur žarf ekki naušsynlega aš finna „Audrey Hepburn“ eša konu sem lķkist henni ķ einu og öllu heldur lķfsfyllingu ķ hvaša formi sem hśn vęri. Žaš gęti til dęmis veriš meiri og reglulegri samvistir viš soninn, eša uppgjör viš eitthvaš ķ fortķš Gullbrands/Bjarna sem ég vissi kannski hvaš vęri ef ég vęri ekki „andlitslaus“ lesandi žessa annars hluta skįldęvisögunnar. Og kannski er hans Audrey einfaldlega skrifin og žörf į meiri višurkenningu og athygli į žvķ sviši.

Mišaš viš žessa bók į Bjarni miklu meiri athygli skilda.

 Uppheimar
2009
182 Seiten.
Die Suche nach Audrey Hepburn
Leitin aš Audrey Hepburn

Von den Kritikern in der Presse - übersetzt zum Deutschen

Kritiken

 

 

“Die Suche nach Audrey Hepburn gewährt uns Einblick in das Tagebuch von Gullbrandur Högnason zu verschiedenen Zeitpunkten und an unterschiedlichen Orten, wie Paris, Rom, Reykjavķk und Eyrarbakki.
(...)
Die Tatsache, dass er stets Frauen im Kopf hat, hindert ihn daran, ein seßhaftes Leben führen. Das Buch ist der Versuch, die Gründe für sein wechselhaftes Leben zu finden, da er sich nie lange an eine Frau binden kann.

Die Wurzel des Problems ist der Filmstar Audrey Hepburn, der für Gullbrandur die vollkommene Frau verkörpert. Auf der Suche nach dem Kern der Weiblichkeit kann eine Frau eine andere leicht ersetzen.

Die Sehnsucht nach Erlösung und Glück ist seine Triebkraft, aber um diese zu erhalten, muß er die Erlösung immer wieder aufschieben. Gullbrandur ist immer auf dem Weg von einer Frau zur nächsten. Er sagt, dass der Mann nicht an einem Platz zu Hause ist, sondern die Reise selbst sein Zuhause ist. Er selbst hat sich dafür entschieden, sein Leben der Suche nach Audrey Hepburn zu widmen, der vollkommenen Frau.”
(Aušur Ašalsteinsdóttir)

“Das Buch gliedert sich in fünf Teile. In den ersten beiden befindet sich Gullbrandur jeweils in einer europäischen Großstadt, zuerst in Paris im Jahr 1955 und dann vier Jahre später in Rom. Dort wandelt er umher, denkt viel über die Dinge zwischen Himmel und Erde nach und beschäftigt sich mit drei hübschen Frauen aus drei Nationen.

Der Stil dieses Reiseberichtes, der in Tagebuchform geschrieben wurde, ist sehr entspannt und elegant. Die Gedanken, die der Autor zu Papier bringt, verdeutlichen die Unterschiede zwischen einer Kleinstadt wie Eyrabakki und einer Metropole wie Rom auf interessante und humorvolle Weise.”
(Kristjįn Hrafn Gušmundsson)

“Nach vielen Jahren verzweifelter Suche nach Audrey kommt Gullbrandur plötzlich mit den großen Geheimnissen des Lebens in Berührung, als seine Geliebte in Rom ein Kind von ihm erwartet. Diesem Sohn will er sein Leben widmen, obwohl die Beziehung zur Mutter nicht lange währt.
(...)
Im dritten Teil des Buches besucht ihn der kleine Snorri auf Island, wo sie gemeinsam den Sommer verbringen. An dieser Stelle beginnt der Leser durch den Tagebuchstil die innige Vater-Sohn-Beziehung zu verstehen, da sich alles nur um seinen Sohn dreht und die Welt des kleinen Snorri beschrieben wird, der einfach und kompliziert zugleich ist. “Snorri sagt, dass ich auch ein kleiner Junge werden könnte, wenn ich nur wolle. Ich müsste nur wie ein Kaninchen meine Gedanken loslassen und ihnen folgen.” (83) Die Kleinigkeiten des Alltags werden zum Hauptthema, denn sie bergen das große Geheimnis.”
(Aušur Ašalsteinsdóttir)

“Im dritten Teil des Buches befindet sich Gullbrandur überhaupt nicht mehr im Großstadttrubel. Da wird von seinen Sommerferien auf Island 2008 und seinem achtjährigen Sohn Snorri berichtet.

Der Autor bekam den Jungen mit der wunderschönen und attraktiven Sól, die er in Rom getroffen hatte und die der Traum eines jeden Mannes war. Im Buch wird nicht erwähnt aus welchem Land Sól kommt, aber sie “ist buchstäblich auf den sieben Weltmeeren aufgewachsen” (68), weil ihre Eltern auf einem Segelboot lebten. Der Junge mit dem Namen, der an das Kinderbuch vom Seehund Snorri erinnert, wurde eigentlich von Gullbrandur und einer Art Meeresgöttin gezeugt, dort wo die Sonne immer scheint.

Und Gullbrandur sieht in Sól die bezaubernd schöne Schauspielerin Audrey Hepburn, die ihm nicht aus dem Kopf gehen will. Aber ihnen war es nicht vergönnt das Leben miteinander zu verbringen, obwohl sie während ihrer kurzen Begegnung in Rom ein Kind gezeugt hatten. (...)
Die Beschreibung der Kommunikation zwischen Vater und Sohn ist stellenweise unbeschreiblich schön. Bjarni beschreibt sehr stilvoll die Zuneigung, die sich zwischen den beiden entwickelt, und die Angst vor der unvermeidlichen Trennung am Ende des Sommers, wenn der kleine Snorri wieder zurück zu seiner Mutter nach Norwegen muss. Vater und Sohn reden über alles Mögliche, von Flöhen auf Mäusen über Schlagertexte bis hin zur Verbindung zwischen dem Gefühlsleben von Luke Skywalker und der Musik in Star Wars.” (Kristjįn Hrafn Gušmundsson)

“Und obwohl der Sommer mit seinem Sohn von Wehmut geprägt ist, weil die unvermeidliche Trennung folgen wird, ist Gullbrandur am Ende glücklich in seiner selbst gewählten Isolation.”
(Aušur Ašalsteinsdóttir)

“Auf eine geniale Weise bildet das Alles am Ende eine harmonische Einheit, sodass ein humorvolles und elegantes Buch herauskommt.”
(Žormóšur Dagsson)

2008

Drauga-
höndin

Published in December 2008

Draugahöndin
The Arm of the Ghost

a story for children.

Drawings by Kjartan Hallur

Uppheimar, 2008.
ISBN 9789979659211 (ib.)

2007

Bernhard
Zero

 

Published in December 2007 the novel  Bernharšur Nśll (Bernhard Zero).

The publisher's introduction:
Who is the everyday-spy Bernard Zero? Where at the restaurant does he place himself and spy on us? When will he enter our lives and participate - or walk out on us? One thing for sure: he has arrived Iceland and notes on everything he sees in the restaurant.
A clearcut expression, new points of view and originality are the marks of Bjarni Bjarnason and that is the stampmark on Bernard Zero. This is a catching story of modern man with his existence scrupulously dissected with a merciless insight.

Kynning śtgefanda ķ Bókatķšindum įrsins 2007:
Hver er hversdagsnjósnarinn Bernharšur Nśll? Viš hvaša borš į kaffihśsinu situr hann og njósnar um okkur? Hvenęr mun hann stķga inn ķ lķf okkar og taka žįtt eša stķgur hann śt śr okkur sjįlfum? Hann er alla vega kominn til Ķslands og skrįir allt nišur sem hann sér į kaffihśsinu.
Beittur stķll, nżsköpun og frumleiki einkenna verk Bjarna Bjarnasonar og Bernharšur Nśll er žar engin undantekning. Sterk og įleitin samtķmasaga žar sem tilvist nśtķmmannsins er vęgšarlaust krufin til mergjar af miklu innsęi.
Śtgefandi Uppheimar, ISBN nśmer 978-9979-9775-7-5, 230 bls. - Leišbeinandi verš 4.280 kr.

Vķšsjį
20. des. 2007
Bernharšur Nśll

Aušur Ašalsteinsdóttir - ritdómur

Aušur
Ašalsteinsdóttir
Bernharšur Nśll, nżjasta skįldsaga Bjarna Bjarnasonar minnir aš mörgu leyti į bękur James Morrows, bandarķskan rithöfund sem notar fantasķu – og vķsindaskįldsagnaformiš til aš takast į viš stęrstu spurningar mannkynsins; t.d. um Guš, daušann, žjįninguna og tilgang lķfsins. Ķ trķlógķu Morrows um gušdóminn finnst risastórt lķk Gušs į floti ķ Atlantshafinu og verša višbrögš mannanna viš žvķ nokkuš skrautleg. Morrow hefur lķka skrifaš sķnar eigin śtgįfur af żmsum Biblķusögum og um žaš žegar dóttir Gušs fęšist į jöršu. Morrow skapar žvķ nokkurs konar nśtķma-gošsögur, fantastķskar satķrur žar sem tekist er į viš mennskuna og gušdóminn.

Bjarni tekst lķka ótraušur į viš hinar stóru spurningar um hlutskipti mannsins. Bernharšur Nśll fjallar um tómiš, lķfstilganginn eša tilgangsleysiš, daušann, trśna, fórnina og įstina - en žessi višfangsefni hafa einkennt mörg fyrri verk Bjarna og mį segja aš hann haldi įfram aš vinna śr trśarheimspekilegum hugšarefnum sķnum į lifandi og įsękinn hįtt.

Bjarni notar hér Reykjavķk nśtķmans sem sögusviš, žar sem sögupersónurnar eru bęši ķ hlutverkum hversdagslegs fólks og ķ gošsögulegum hlutverkum. Hann vefur saman heimspekilegum vangaveltum, hęfilega fantastķskum sögužręši og lifandi persónum – og heldur žannig lesandanum viš efniš. Hann leggur t.d. mikiš upp śr myndręnum og nokkuš ljóšręnum lżsingum eins og sjį mį strax į fyrstu setningum bókarinnar, er sögumašurinn, Bernharšur Nśll, lżsir manninum į nęsta borši į kaffihśsinu B5 žar sem hann er fastagestur:

Tķminn hefur skrišiš nišur śtitekiš andlitiš eins og aurskrišur nišur fjallshlķšar ķ rigningu. Hann hefur misst allt nema viršuleikann og žaš er eins og lķfiš ętli aš ręna honum lķka. Į hverjum morgni sést į rykfrakkanum aš undirheimarnir reyna aš toga hann nišur žjóšfélagsstigann kįmugum fingrum.

Frįsögnin er ķ formi dagbóka sem sögumašur skrifar jafnóšum. Oft er hann aš lżsa atburšum sem eru aš gerast eša fólki sem hann sér į mešan hann skrifar - eša rétt įšur: „Ég sem hef aldrei séš heilan raunveruleikažįtt er nśna kominn meš mķna eigin serķu ķ hversdagsbókinni,“ segir hann um skriftir sķnar žar sem hann hķmir inni į klósetti Casino Club og skrifar um žaš sem var aš gerast į barnum og er aš gerast ķ nęsta bįs. (43) Bernharšur Nśll segist lifa ķ bilinu fyrir framan pennann enda er markmiš hans aš tżna sér ķ augnablikinu. Hann er į flótta undan lķfinu og hefur fundiš sér afdrep ķ hversdagsleikanum žar sem hann fylgist meš öšrum og skrįir nišur en reynir aš komast hjį žvķ aš taka žįtt eša aš ašrir verši hans varir.

Bernharšur Nśll er žó bęši ķ senn hversdagsnjósnari og sį sem hversdagsnjósnarinn Magdalena fylgist meš. Magdalena og Sśsanna eru ašalkvenpersónur bókarinnar og meš Bernharši mynda žęr einhvers konar įstaržrķhyrning. Hann er lķka żmist eltur af eša eltir tvķfara sinn, sem hann kallar Bernharš 1, žar sem sį Bernharšur er žįtttakandi ķ tilverunni. Žeir renna sundur og saman, eru żmist spegilmyndir, mismunandi hlišar eša sami mašur.

„Hver er Bernharšur Nśll?“ er ein af meginspurningum bókarinnar en svariš reynist ekki einhlķtt. Hann gęti veriš veraldarhyggjan holdi klędd og ljóst er aš hann buršast meš žungbęrar minningar mannkynsins. Eins og hann segir sjįlfur:

... heimurinn er eiginlega oršinn ég.
Hver er žį aš skrifa hérna, ég eša heimurinn? (164)

Sjįlfur viršist Bernharšur Nśll óviss um ešli sitt og tilgang. Oršin eru hans svęši, segir hann, en einnig tómiš eins og kemur fram ķ nafninu hans – og ķ eftirfarandi tilvitnun:

Žeir segja aš ég sé tómiš. Žaš sem ekki er. En ég er einmitt aš reyna aš fylla upp ķ žaš. Best sést žetta tóm sem viškvęmasti punktur kvenna. Žar er bara tóm. Ég reyni aš fylla žaš til aš gefa lķfinu merkingu. Žannig fyllir mašur tómiš af įst.
Eša hvaš?
Ég žarf aš lęra aš elska og sķšan žarf ég aš sanna aš ég geti žaš. ... Leyndardómur įstarinnar liggur ķ fórninni.

Fórnin er lykilatriši ķ žessu verki; hśn er leišin śt śr tóminu og sönnun įstarinnar. Gegnum hana er hęgt aš stķga śt śr hversdagsleikanum sem flótta undan žunga tķmans og stķga inn ķ lķfiš, inn ķ hversdaginn sem felst ķ žvķ aš lifa fyrir hvert andartak, lķta į hvert augnablik sem žakkargjörš og fórn.

Žaš fer ekki hjį žvķ aš höfundur sé mešvitašur um vandann aš skrifa um gušdóminn ķ ķrónķskum nśtķmaheimi, hvaš žį aš reyna aš komast aš kjarna hans; eiga ķ samręšum viš gušdóminn gegnum skrifin, eša, eins og Bernharšur segir sjįlfur:

... aš geta dregiš upp sviflétta stafi sem verša meira en hlęgilegt flögr fuglsungans sem ekki kann į vęngi sķna, žaš er aš męta sįl tungumįlsins sem er gušleg og reyna aš hverfa ekki ķ žvķ ljósi, reyna aš hafa eitthvaš aš segja viš žaš sem er mér svo óendanlega miklu ęšra. Hvaš geturšu sagt įhugavert viš žaš sem er žér óendanlega miklu ęšra? Eina sem žį gildir er einlęgni. Ef mašur er heppinn felst lķka ķ henni skemmtun, en hvort svo sé fęr mašur engu um rįšiš. Saga manns veršur aš vera svo aušmjśk aš hśn verši um leiš žakkargjörš.

Ég held aš menn eins og Morrow, meš sķna snilldarlegu satķru, og Bjarni Bjarnason, meš sķna sįrsaukablöndnu tilvistarspeki, hafi hitt į rétta tóna ķ nśtķmagošsögum sķnum.
Fyrir mitt leyti verš ég aš segja aš ég fann ķ žessu verki ķ senn skemmtun, einlęgni, aušmżkt og žakkargjörš. Auk žess sem ég fann įtakanlega fyrir hverfulleika tilverunnar – ég hef, lķkt og Bernharšur Nśll, „aldrei fundiš betur hve miklu er fórnaš sérhvert andartak“. Guš gaf og guš tekur, segir Bernharšur Nśll og heldur įfram:

Hann spanderar lķfum okkar fašmlagi fyrir fašmlag, bros fyrir bros, koss fyrir koss. Viš vöggum syfjulega ķ köšlum kistumannanna og sķgum gegnum hamingjuna dżpra ofan ķ kalt, moldarblautt myrkriš. Žegar jöršin, sem hann gaf okkur, lendir į kistulokinu hljómar žaš eins og klappaš sé fyrir lķfsskeišum okkar.

Žessi bók er eitt af žeim verkum sem lķtiš fer fyrir ķ umręšunni en koma lesandanum žęgilega į óvart. Ķ raun er ótrślegt hversu litla athygli hśn hefur vakiš hingaš til. Bjarni Bjarnason gerir til-raun til aš snerta į innsta kjarna tilverunnar og viš viršumst ansi tżnd ķ eigin nafla ef slķkar bók-menntir lenda umsvifalaust į jašri bókmenntaumręšunnar.

2003

Faces

In November 2003 the selfbiographical novel Andlit (Faces) is published. 

Here Bjarni Bjarnason tells of his youth in the seventies and how he is mostly self-raised. He is on a somehow constant move around, both inland and abroad, making acquaintance with odd people like the snake woman that once served a world famous actor, an American guru thriving on icelandic souls, Cleopatra who is interested in the lifestyles of the subterranian poets. He meets Swedish policemen that look suspiciously at dreams, stressed stewardesses and all kinds of ghosts. 

This is a story filled with humour, grief and warmth, but first and foremost a singular description of a singular life. 

Vaka-Helgafell
2003

 

Andlit eša grķma?

Umsögn Jóns Yngva Jóhannssonar ķ desember 2003

 Jón Yngvi
Jóhannsson,
des. 2003
Bjarni Bjarnason er kynlegur kvistur ķ ķslenskum bókmenntum. Hann hóf feril sinn į žvķ aš gefa sjįlfur śt ljóšabękur, skįldsögu og prósa og virtist una sér įgętlega į jašrinum. Verk hans voru sum mikil aš vöxtum og ekki alltaf įrennileg, enda nįšu žau athygli fįrra. Įriš 1996 gaf Ormstunga svo śt skįldsögu Bjarna Endurkoma Marķu og žar meš var Bjarna kippt inn ķ mišju bókmenntalķfsins žar sem hann hefur veriš sķšan og oršstķr hans vaxiš meš hverri nżrri bók. Samt er hann hįlfgeršur huldumašur.

Ķ nżjustu bók Bjarna sem heitir Andlit kynnumst viš žessum huldumanni, uppruna hans og leiš til skįldskaparins. Andlit er uppvaxtarsaga og žaš er engin dul dregin į aš žaš er lķf höfundarins sjįlfs sem žar er lżst. Ašferšin er kannski ekkert ósvipuš ašferš Gunnars Gunnarssonar ķ Fjallkirkjunni, ķ hlutverki Ugga Greipssonar er žį Gullbrandur Högnason, sem reyndar į kattarkyns alnafna ķ sögunni.
Saga Gullbrands hefst ķ Skerjafirši žar sem hann bżr meš foreldrum sķnum ķ nišurnķddu hśsi. Įstandiš į heimilinu er ekki sem best og Gullbrandur skrópar ķ skóla nęstum daglega en eyšir žess ķ staš dögunum į flakki um bęinn, reynir stundum fyrir sér sem blašasali meš litlum įrangri žó. Eftir skilnaš foreldranna flytur hann meš föšur sķnum til Fęreyja žar sem faširinn kemst upp į kant viš stranga įfengislöggjöf eyjaskeggja, žašan liggur leišin į Eyrarbakka og loks til Svķžjóšar. Žegar drengurinn loks gefst upp į sambżlinu viš föšur sinn flyst hann til afa sķns į Ķslandi, žį til ömmu sinnar og loks um stutt skeiš til móšur sinnar.

Eftir žaš, snemma į unglingsaldri, er hann į eigin vegum, og kannski sķst verr staddur en įšur. Į öllum žessum stöšum er Gullbrandur hįlf utangįtta, hann eignast ekki vini, nema helst ķ fulloršnum, hann tollir ekki ķ skóla og enginn viršist ķ raun skipta sér mikiš af žvķ hvaš veršur um hann.

Eftir žennan uppvöxt tekur viš lķf į eigin vegum, sjómennska og stefnulaust flakk śt ķ heim. Žaš er ekki fyrr en Gullbrandur kemur til Reykjavķkur og hefur žar umfangsmikiš sjįlfsnįm ķ lestrarsal Landsbókasafnsins og kemst ķ kynni viš ašrar skįldaspķrur aš lesandinn fęr į tilfinninguna aš hann komist ķ tengsl viš annaš fólk. Žar finnur hann samfélag sem er honum aš skapi og žar sem hann blómstrar.

Žaš sem vekur óhjįkvęmilega įhuga og ašdįun viš lestur žessarar sögu er aš sögumašur skuli hafa oršiš aš manni og žaš meira aš segja listamanni eftir allar žęr hörmungar sem yfir hann dynja ķ ęsku. Žetta er saga af įtakanlega vanręktum dreng sem tekst, meš žvķ aš treysta į sjįlfan sig og drauma sķna, aš ala sjįlfan sig upp.

Eitt žaš sérkennilegasta viš Andlit sem sjįlfsęvisögu eša skįldęvisögu er aš sögumašur lżsir aldrei tilfinningum sķnum. Žetta er ekki jįtningabók žótt vķsaš sé til Jįtninga Įgśstķnusar nokkrum sinnum ķ bókinni. Žaš er nęstum sama hvaš į dynur, skilnašur foreldra, dauši įstvina, sķfelld bśferlaskipti žar sem ęttingjar senda hann į milli sķn landanna į milli, öllu tekur Gullbrandur meš sama jafnašargeši aš žvķ er viršist. Hann vorkennir sjįlfum sér aldrei en lżsir atburšum nęstum eins og hann hafi veriš įhorfandi aš žeim. Sagan minnir žess vegna į stundum į uppvaxtarsögu af žvķ tagi sem mašur žekkir svo vel śr ķslenskum bókmenntum sķšustu įratuga žar sem léttleiki og hśmor eru ķ fyrirrśmi.

Munurinn er bara sį aš hér er ekki veriš aš lżsa dęmigeršum uppvexti meš tilheyrandi bśningadrama sem gerir okkur kleift aš endurlifa horfna tķma. Lesandinn fęr aldrei nema óljósan grun um sįrsaukann sem undir bżr. Forsķša bókarinnar er kannski bżsna glśrin tślkun į bókinni. Žar er mynd af gerfinefi meš tilheyrandi skeggi og gleraugum - skopleg grķma, ķ bókinni sjįlfri er žessi grķma aldrei tekin ofan og mašur fęr į tilfinninguna aš sįrsaukinn sem undir bżr sé įstęšan.

Andlit er skįldęvisaga og aš forminu til bżsna hefšbundin, nema aš einu leyti. Viš fįum aldrei aš vita hvort fer fyrir Gullbrandi eins og höfundi hans, hvort hann stķgur fram ķ svišsljósiš og hęttir aš vera nešanjaršarskįld. Žetta er svolķtiš merkileg og kannski žversagnakennd nišurstaša. Gullbrandi er neitaš um žann sigur sem höfundurinn sjįlfur vann. Žaš er óneitanlega svolķtill keimur af nostalgķu yfir žessari nišurstöšu, rómantķsk minning um "samfélag hinna lįgstemmdu drauma" žar sem nešanjaršarskįld og "hugsanleg skįld" bśa enn ósnortin af hįvaša velgengninnar.

Nude
Painting
A chapter
from the autobiographical Novel: Faces.
  At this point, when I was about 14 and my father was the guest of the Swedish penal system, I unexpectedly became the housemate of my Faeroese stepmother, a woman eight years older than I was. Since she had come to Sweden, she had held body and soul together by working at the exhausting trade of sitting as a nude model in the art schools in the area. She had purchased an oil painting of herself, which had somehow found its way into a second-hand shop, and had hung it up in her living room so that anyone who entered the room could see her just as God had created her. God had done some of his better work on that occasion, and the painter had taken care to praise the both of them through his art. It gave me a weird feeling to sit there with this person I hardly knew and take in the painting and the woman by turns. Sometimes it seemed as though the woman were nude and the painting were wearing her clothes.

My new housemate read nude magazines before she went to sleep at night, and from time to time I pinched them from her bedside table. These bizarre literary magazines had the strangely bureaucratic name of Rapport. I still remember the masterfully written short stories they contained. They generally told the story of a young and beautiful woman who lived in despair because no one loved or cared for her in this harsh harsh world, and who threw herself into all sorts of unbelievable adventures in the hope of finding just a glimmer of affection somewhere in an otherwise perverted existence.

***
On one occasion, for example, she is riding on the bus when an exquisite-looking prince of a man strides toward her and sits down beside her. She doesn’t dare look up but quietly breathes in the heavy scent of his masculinity. She glides into an idyllic dream where the two of them are naked in a magnificent bedroom, and she feels how the vibration of the bus helps her to lose herself entirely in the images of love. Soon a white-hot fire pulses through her body, and she can’t hold back a soft sigh. Startled, she blushes bright red and opens her eyes in shock. No one seems to have noticed anything. The bus continues on its way as though nothing has happened. She feels a little better then, knowing, at least, that the fire of love lives and thrives within her. And then the stranger in the seat beside her leans over to her, takes a deep breath, and whispers, “Was it good?”

The poor girl flees the bus in a panic. Her eyes flood with tears as she runs down the sidewalk. Why in God’s name couldn’t he put his arm around her when he saw how she felt; why couldn’t he escort her out of the bus and invite her out for a cup of coffee?

In the next story, we find this unlucky nymph roaming alone down the beach in the Swedish Skargarden, looking for a place to sunbathe. Suddenly she sees a man in a yellow swimsuit lying and reading a book. As she draws closer, she realises that he is her girlfriend’s father, a man she has always had a bit of a crush on. She doesn’t dare speak to him, but he calls out to her, asks her what’s new, and invites her to have a seat. The girl is wearing nothing but a bikini and tries everything in her power in order to elicit a tiny bit of warmth and attention from him, but he talks of nothing but the book he is reading. She starts slathering suntan lotion on herself in the hope that he will notice her body and considers it a good sign, at least, when he falls silent. His breathing becomes heavier, and she senses the heat coursing through her as she feels his silent eyes on her while she rubs lotion into her thighs with a firm, rhythmic motion. Surely something will happen now; otherwise she will explode from lack of love. Then something occurs to her, something that will guarantee her the touch of his strong hands. She lets her bikini top fall and asks hoarsely, “Could you put some on my back?”

No answer. She looks at him. He’s fast asleep. On the verge of tears, she seriously considers taking her things, running away, and flinging his book into the ocean. If only he weren’t so goddamn masculine. But now she can look at him without shame or shyness, let her eyes roam anywhere she likes, without his noticing anything. She lets her hands float above his body, feels the heat rising from his skin and feels his hair tickle her palms. If she could only touch him, take a double handful of the hair on his chest, and feel for a single moment that she isn’t alone in the world. But she doesn’t dare.

Suddenly she notices a fundamental change. The yellow swimsuit begins to swell. She can’t believe her eyes. He’s so cute, lying there snoring. By the time the bathing suit looks something like an Indian tepee, the girl is in agony. She’s suffered before, but never as much as at this moment. She bites the back of her hand, chews her fingernails, dries the tears from her eyes. And finally, she can’t resist taking a tiny peek under the swimsuit to see what’s going on. The man doesn’t move a muscle as she pulls his bathing trunks down just an inch.

Now she really feels cheated. Standing there right in front of her is that tool, that insatiable thing that can’t be stopped or contained, the thing that is the root of all evil in the universe — and it doesn’t do so much as make a move toward her. If it had been wearing a hat on its head, it surely would have removed it, bowed low, and said a polite “Good afternoon.” She is infuriated by such rudeness. After all, isn’t she an attractive young woman who deserves her fair share of harassment from these bastards! In a fury of revenge, she rearranges her bikini bottom and sits on the monster.

Soon she feels that same white-hot fire welling up through her, the one she felt that day in the bus so long ago, but the man sleeps through it all. When he wakes up, he apologises for having dropped off in the middle of a sentence and says he must be a lousy companion for a young girl. She feels guilty for having taken shameless advantage of this nice man. Did I do something wrong? she asks herself. But it was so incredibly good. I want more, much more. She feels that her need for care and love is bottomless. What should I do? The poor girl is desperate.
***

As I sat in the living room with my new roommate, beneath the portrait of her, I studied her expression and asked myself, Does she suffer from lack of love in this world?

It didn’t appear as though she did, no matter how I searched her strong-boned face for a sign of privation. Something was rotten in the State of Denmark.
2001

Mannętu-
konan
og
mašur hennar

 The
Cannibal
Woman
and her
Husband.

The Cannibal woman and her husband. (Novel, 2001.)

Got the Halldór Laxness Literary Prize 2001.

The appraising committee wrote:

“Bókin er ķ dulargervi glępasögu en ber skżr merki įstarsögu, žjóšsögu og hryllingssögu enda žótt höfundurinn snśi śt śr öllum žessum bókmenntagreinum. Hér er į ferš ęvintżraleg skįldsaga žar sem saman fara frjótt ķmyndunarafl, og rķk frįsagnargįfa svo śr veršur magnaš og óvenjulegt bókmenntaverk.”

Dreams Bjarnason has written down his dreams for fifteen years. He has taken from his dream collection ninety dreams and made a book out of them. Some of the dreams are in English:

For example in march 1989 he woke up with the following description of his existens in mind:

"Your life is all set and done,
and here you sit under the sun."

1998

Borgin
bak viš oršin

The
City behind
the Words

*  *  *

1999

Nęturvöršur
kyrršarinnar

The
Guardian
of Silence

In 1998, Bjarnason got the Tómas Gušmundsson Literary Prize from the City of Reykjavķk for his novel, Borgin bak viš Oršin. (The City Behind the Words). The story is about a boy named Immanuel Mercurous, who at the age of seven, wakes up one morning in a big, modern city he does not know. When people ask him who he is, he says that he is a prince, and starts telling stories from the kingdom of his father. People find him strange, but they cannot help listening to his mysterious stories. Soon he is living by telling his stories out in the open. As he gets older the question if the stories are true ore pure fiction becomes more pressing. The later book about Immanuel Mercurous came in 1999 and is called Nęturvöršur Kyrršarinnar (The Guardian of Silence).

Sigrķšur Albertsdóttir said in a review on Borgin bak viš Oršin in DV daily in December 1998: Borgin bak viš Oršin is a complicated work, full of symbols which are not always easy to understand except deep in the subconscious where the universal arctypes have their domain. But this is exactly the magic of the text. It sends the reader into another world, and is totally spellbinding in its divine beauty. The text is so poetic and full of wisdom that you want to learn it all by heart.

In the winter 2000 issue of the international magazine, WORLD LITERATURE TODAY, Kristen Wolf from the University of Manitoba, gave Borgin bak viš oršin the following critique:

"Bjarni Bjarnason is no doubt one of the most remarkable Icelandic authors of his generation (...)

Borgin bak viš oršin is a sophisticated and extraordinary piece of work (...)

Immanśel (the main character in the book) raises many important, profound, and relevant issues with his audience, the reader, and provides them with, if not truth, then fiction of almost divine inspiration. "

Games In 1999, Bjarnason got a prize for three one-act plays called Games, and they were put up in Išnó theatre in spring 2000.
1996

Endurkoma
Marķu

The
Return
of the
Divine Mary

Excerpts
in Icelandic
from the book

Bjarnason“s second novel, Endurkoma Marķu (The Return of the Divine Mary), appeared in 1996. After its nomination for the Icelandic Literary Prize the same year, the author was interviewed in all the main media in Iceland where he discussed the Virgin Mary and the book.

In a review in DV daily on December 5, 1996, Sigrķšur Albertsdóttir wrote:

The Virgin Mary in modern society. What would that woman be like and how would she be received? This is the question Bjarni Bjarnason poses in his novel The Return of the Divine Mary, and develops it into an original and interesting novel. (...)

I do not intend to spoil the experience for other readers by sharing my own reflections on the message and conclusions of this unique and exciting book. Readers should find that out for themselves. But I predict that very few people will be disappointed by reading it.

ISBN 9979-63-007-8 / 9979630078

Uppheimar
2007
THE RETURN OF THE DIVINE MARY (Endurkoma Marķu)
Translator David McDuff. The novel in English.  
ISBN 978-9979-9775-4-4
Reykjavik
Grapewine
10.8.2007

Review by
Tobias Munthe

Read the
article on
Reykjavik Grapewine

The Return of the Divine Mary

Part romance, part thriller, part theological speculation, The Return of the Divine Mary is a wonderfully eccentric, enchanting read. Traces of William Blake mingle with undertones of Bulgakov, Eco and Kafka to create a fast-paced, unpredictable drama constructed on an intriguing premise: ‘What would the Virgin Mary be like as a young woman in modern society, and how would her contemporaries receive her?’

The story follows Michael von Blomsterfeld, inventor, acrobat, rebel, romantic and grandson to the great theologian, Professor Johannes von Blomsterfeld, author of the controversial theological disquisition ‘The Return of the Divine Mary’. After returning to his deceased grandfather’s castle following seven years on the road in search of fortune as a circus performer, Michael constructs the ultimate circus ‘machine’ – a contraption containing, in miniature, all of the circus’s greatest acts – and sets off to enchant the world with his ‘Circus of the Divine Order’.

Meanwhile, Mary, Christ’s University’s greatest scholar, is on the run. On the eve of defending her doctoral thesis, Mary finds that her dissertation, as well as all proof of her existence – down to the very print on her ID card – has disappeared, and the authorities suspect wrongdoing.

The meeting of these two eccentrics leads to an unlikely collaboration, (as Mary becomes first Michael’s assistant, and soon the star of his show), a passionate love affair, and finally a tragic adventure as the duo is pursued by an angry mob that wants to silence speculations that Mary might, in fact, be the reincarnation of the Holy Mother.

While the world of the novel is left open to interpretation – there are computers and cars in this world, but beyond that, the universe presented could just as well be pre-Christian, Medieval or even futuristic – the central question remains captivating. How would we receive the suggestion that a pure being, possibly the mother of God, was alive and operating within our midst? Disbelief seems to be the prevalent attitude, stretching to venomous indignation, tempered only by a minority core of passionate support.

Bjarnason invites us to re-explore a story so familiar to us that we have lost sight of its astonishing strangeness and beauty. In the character of Mary, he presents us with a beautiful, fascinating, demure and very human incarnation of holiness and drops her at the centre of vicious intrigue that ultimately leads to her obliteration.

Indeed, the final disappearance of Mary suggests an indictment of the restrictions of our own imaginations. Unable to contain the idea of holiness, or the possibility of divinity in the broadest sense, we devise devious, rational means for destroying that which may be our salvation. As such, The Return of the Divine Mary appears as a passionate plea for the primacy of the imagination and the need for belief – be it sacred or profane – as intellectual challenge, as spiritual growth, and above all as a vital humanising impulse.

1995

Sólarlag
viš
sjįvarrönd

In 1995 his Sólarlag viš sjįvarrönd (Sunset at the Shore) won first prize in the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service“s short story competition and was broadcast twice on the radio, accompanied by piano music composed by the author himself.

Word-document: The story - in Icelandic

1994

Vķsland

Vķsland, published in September 1994, is a collection of all Bjarnason“s earlier works, either as printed or slightly revised, together with five essays on the mind and consciousness. One theme of the essays is words and sentences produced during dreams, and the book also contains an illustration of a very peculiar device, an artist“s impression of a kind of representation of consciousness which Bjarnason dreamt. Jón Özur Snorrason remarked on the book in a review in Morgunblašiš on December 1, 1994:

"Vķsland is divided into seven main sections, with a remarkable strictness of construction. The first section is named Upphafiš (The Beginning) and begins with the word "behold" and the last one Endirinn (The End) and ends "the final point." Between Eden and Hell with man in the centre, presented in poems, short stories, dramatic works and essays. The structure recalls a dramatic piece of music with its framework "borrowed" from Genesis and Revelations (...)

Bjarni Bjarnason examines human life in a religious, historical, philosophical and scientific light. The undertone of his work is largely pessimistic and nihilistic, but always interspersed with humour. It is a Byronic poet who wield this pen, a "new man" in revolt against God and men:

Go out of me God
so that I may die
Go out of me man
so that I may live forever
go
go
go.

Bjarni Bjarnason is a powerful poet."

Andblęr In 1994, Bjarnason founded a literary magazine called Andblęr, a forum for many interesting young writers.
1993

Dagurinn ķ dag

Today

In September 1993, Bjarnason published seven one-act plays, which may either be performed separately or in sequence to produce a full-length play. Reviewing the book, Dagurinn ķ dag (Today), for Tķminn daily on March 15, 1994, Haraldur Jóhannsson described how:

"... two of the one-act plays, Hillingavatniš (Water of Mirages) and Nś er lygamęlirinn fullur (Lie detector overload), intertwine human life with the cyber-existence of the future. They are clever, even brilliant."

1992

Sonur
skuggans

The
Son of the
Shadow


In September 1992 Bjarnason published his first novel, Sonur skuggans (The son of the shadow). In Morgunblašiš on December 12, 1992, Jón Özur Snorrason remarked:

"This is very well done and the book is packed with interesting reflection. Weltschmerz prevails, mixed with humour. The main character“s freedom involves giving his thoughts endless scope. The author“s freedom must surely involve this too."

1990

Uršarfjóla

Bolder Violets

+

Ķ Óralandi

In
Far-Away Land

In September 1990, Bjarnason published two books, a collection of love poetry titled Uršafjóla (Bolder Violet) and a collection of short stories under the title Ķ Óralandi (In Far-Away Land). In a Morgunblašiš review on November 15, 1990, poet Kjartan Įrnason said:

"The world is my mistress / and our children that which I write," says Bjarni Bjarnason in his poem Įstarsaga (Love Story) in his latest verse collection, Uršafjóla. I think that he describes his poetry better in these words than I could in a long article. Someone who loves the world has affection too for man with all his flaws, and at the same time respects life as it is. This is the way they reveal themselves to me, these children of Bjarnason and the world (...)

Ķ Óralandi is a collection of eleven short stories. Perhaps "short story" is not always the right term; one text, for example, is a letter by Bjarni Bjarnason to the males of the future. But regardless of literary classifications, Bjarnason follows a highly unusual course in this book. With one hand he holds onto the umbilical chord of the universe, with the other a Parker pen, as he jumps up and down on the Earth - sometimes with his feet on the ground, sometimes not. Bjarnason“s fiction seems to hover - but not all up in the air - and is a kind of notion of fiction. And, nota Bene, this is not to be taken as a negative quality. In fact I have considerable difficulty in finding anything that correspond to this notional fiction, he does not exactly write himself into a tradition - at least not any prevailing tradition. And in my opinion this is good news."

1989

Upphafiš

The Beginning

In January 1989 Bjarnason published his first book of verse, Upphafiš (The Beginning) which contains 36 poems including a metaphysical work of twenty stanzas. In a review in Iceland“s largest daily, Morgunblašiš, on May 18, 1989, the paper“s cultural editor Jóhann Hjįlmarsson said:

"The long poem after which the book is named combines an eloquence and a playfulness which are highly promising."

Ótal kraftaverk

Untold Miracles

In January 1989 Bjarnason published his second book, Ótal Kraftaverk (Untold Miracels). In a review in Morgunblašiš on December 5, 1989, writer Erlendur Jónsson described his writing as:

"... powerful with many vigorous turns of phrase - it moves with a cold an stirring breeze."

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