And the Wind Sees All

And the Wind Sees Us All
Year: 
2018
Publisher: 
Place: 
London
Author of Review: 

And the Wind Sees All

(Valeyrarvalsinn, 2011)

In the style of Life: A User’s Manual and Mrs. Dalloway, the timespan of this slim novel is a mere two minutes, yet the prose captures the inner lives of the residents of an entire village.

In a series of vignettes, the reader flits between the consciousnesses of the inhabitants of a small Icelandic fishing village. Fittingly, the thread that weaves these disparate souls together is Kata, the conductor of the town choir, capable of harmonizing the villagers’ voices into a unified, breathing organ. During the two minutes it takes her to cycle along the town’s main street, various villagers mark her passing while going through the motions of their daily lives. As their thoughts drift into the realms of the past, their memories linger on former selves and the hopes and dreams that slipped through their fingers.

A technical marvel of empathy, Guðmundur Andri’s writing shifts its language, cadence and imagery to suit each villager. In doing so it reflects their contrasting visions of each other and their different stories, moving delicately between the warm embrace of nostalgia and the secret sting of old wounds and hidden trauma.