Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bjarni Múli Bjarnason is an author of twenty books.

He was nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize for his novel Endurkoma Maríu/The Return of the Divine Mary.

For his novel Borgin bak við orðin/The City Behind the Words, Bjarni received the Tómas Guðmundssonar Award.

His Novel Mannætukonan og maður hennar/The Cannibal Woman and her Husband received the Halldór Laxness Literature Award.

His works have been translated to Arabic, Faroese, German and English.

He is on the board of the Icelandic Writers Union and lives with his wife, Katrín Júlíusdóttir, a former minister and member of The Icelandic Parliament, and their four son´s in Garðabær, Iceland. In 2019/20 he is the honorary artist of his hometown.

In the book: Útrásarvíkingar: The Literature of the Icelandic Financial Crisis, the author, Dr. Alaric Hall, uses Bjarnasons work, Mannorð, The Reputation as part of the basis of his thesis. It was published in English by Red Hand Books.

B.M Bjarnason has a BA degree in Literature and a Ma degree in Cultural Studies.

His latest book is Læknishúsið/The Doctor´s House, a novel that got very much media attention, and great critics:

“I recommend, dear reader, that you get a copy of The Doctor´s House and have your own personal experiences with the story. Not many stories have the ability to be tailor made for the reader himself, but this book manages that. It dives deep in the roots where each individual has his own world of impressions and reflections. Conclusion: A good story with a powerful ending. The charm lies in what is unsaid and how that reflects the reader. Becomes a tailor made story for each reader.”
                                                            Kolfinna Von Arnardóttir.

“Thanks for a great book Bjarni Múli Bjarnason, exciting and mystical, and both modern and ancient in temperament at the same time.”
                                                            Bergsveinn Birgisson.

"A really exciting book that dwells on the borders of fiction, autobiography, crime and ghost story. I wholeheartedly recommend it.”

                                                            Soffía Auður Birgisdóttir.


Readings. Photo.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Family Photos

My dad was a fisherman; he had a 12-tonne boat that he called Merry. I had often wanted to go out on the boat with him, but he always left me behind. Then, all of a sudden, one morning he asked me if I wanted to come out on a fishing trip with him. I don’t know why, but I refused. He tried to pressure me, but I wouldn’t give in. The last thing I was about to do was go on that fishing trip. And sure enough, during that tour, Merry sank, with the black-and-white family photo in the forecastle, just as it was supposed to do, and my father collected on the insurance. He didn’t even have to have a child on board to convince the judges. He paid off his debts in a hurry, before inflation burned the insurance money to a cinder; and believe me, the inflation inferno consumed entire families in those days.

Dad had never spent much time at home; he was always out to sea. But soon I began to notice that he wasn’t home even when he seemed to be in town. Once when I was driving around with him in a delivery truck – he claimed he’d been working as a truck driver the last few months – he stopped for an instant and disappeared into a flat in one of the countless apartment buildings in the east end of town. When I asked him what apartment that was, he said he lived there. Apparently he’d been doing so for quite a while. The next thing I knew, he had moved to the Faeroe Islands and was living with a young Faeroese woman. Now that was news.

I had begun to hang out alone in the neighbourhood. The kids who weren’t forbidden outright to play with me found me so odd that when I got any attention it was because they started flocking around me just long enough to be able to tell stories about me. And I’d never even heard most of these stories before: either they were utter bullshit, or they were about somebody else. But somehow I had managed to become the kid people talked about without having done much to deserve the honour. Jamie avoided me like the plague. I looked out my window over at his house.

One of his neighbours was Sandrine, the most beautiful woman in the neighbourhood. She lived there with Abdullah, her Arabian husband, and two huge poisonous snakes. Sandrine spoke with a French accent. I’d found out that she’d only spent a month in France in her entire life, but when I confronted her about it, she just smiled her dreamy smile and said, “But I felt immediately as though I belonged there.”

Sandrine was twenty-one, always dressed in spike heels and a short skirt, and always in a hurry. The Arab was always in a bad mood and bellowed like a gorilla every now and again. Once when they were arguing I looked out and saw one of the snakes stretching out the window. Though the apartment was on the second floor, the snake reached most of the way down to the yard. Suddenly the fight in the apartment dropped into silence, and Sandrine and Abdullah joined forces to try to drag the snake back in. But it was too late, and while the Arab held the snake’s tail so it wouldn’t fall down to the yard below, Sandrine came running out topless, carrying a laundry basket to catch the beast. I’d never seen a more beautiful sight than Sandrine stuffing that glistening serpent into that laundry basket.

Now it was quiet in the house. I went to sleep. In the middle of the night some noise awakened me, and I realised my mother had come home with a man.  That suited me just fine, and I got out of bed to go and greet him. Maybe I’d be getting a new father. When I entered the living room, the man had disappeared.

“Where’s the man?” I asked.

“What man?” my mother spat back at me, a little tipsy.

“I heard a man come in with you. Can I say hi to him?”

“What nonsense; no one came home with me. Go to sleep.”

I heard some commotion from within the wall. The man was obviously in the bedroom closet, just beyond the living room.
I went into the bedroom and opened the closet door. The man stepped out.

“You sure are a cheeky little bastard.”

“I’m not cheeky; I just wanted to say hello to you.”

“Well, your mother and I were hoping to have a little peace and quiet.”

I went out onto the balcony. Then I climbed down the birch tree into the yard. My cat, Buster Goldenbelly, followed me. My mother stood on the balcony and asked if I didn’t want to come in and lay down.

“I’m fine right here,” I said.

The night was starry and windless.  I lay in the grass, and Buster sat beside me.

Mom asked again whether I didn’t want to lay down in the bedroom, but before long she gave up and went in and closed the door.
I looked at the stars and felt as though none of it could touch me.  I felt I was no longer a part of this neighbourhood, this school, these friends. I had to live my life alone under the watchful sky. It didn’t get upset over little things, and I, who had lived for a full ten years, should follow its example.  This conviction settled in my stomach. When I stood up, Buster had disappeared. I never saw him again.

I decided to move to the Faeroe Islands.

When I said as much to my mother, she looked at me long and thoughtfully. Then she whispered that I was the best thing she had ever done in this life.
I didn’t know what she was talking about, so I went into the bedroom to pack my things. A few days later we were walking together near the end of the runway, toward the airport. Several times during that walk it seemed as though she were on the brink of saying something but then couldn’t find the right words. When the time came to say good-bye, she seemed again to be about to speak, but then too, the words didn’t come. She rifled hurriedly through her handbag and pulled out a new camera that I had never seen before. Then she pointed the camera at me and snapped.