The Outlaw

the outlaw
Author: 
Translator: 
Year: 
2017
Place: 
Dallas, Texas
Author of Review: 

The Outlaw

(Útlaginn, 2015)

In the final instalment in Jón Gnarr‘s auto-fictitious memoirs of his upbringing as an adolescent ne’er-do-well punk rocker, his parents have given up on setting him straight and sent him off to an isolated boarding school for troubled youths.

There, Jón mingles with and finally finds his place among the other weirdos and delinquents and picks up a variety of bad habits. However, while navigating the school’s intricate and harsh power structures he also begins to hone his moral compass, often with a little guidance from the lyrics of UK anarcho-punk band Crass. When he returns to Reykjavík, he discovers that there is no place for him anymore in his parents’ house as he is now by all accounts an adult and expected to take responsibility for himself. To escape the ennui of adulthood, Jón falls into petty crime, burglaries and drug use before finally finding his feet.

As with the previous books in the series, The Outlaw is narrated in a tongue-in-cheek present tense but below its comic surface is an undertone of sadness for the unreasonable expectations placed on kids who cannot so easily be moulded into an acceptable shape for the workforce.