Review of “Great-grandad and the vanishing glacier” in Icelandic television program Kiljan, an important player in the so-called Christmas book flood – a popular tradition in which books are given as gifts on Christmas Eve. It’s reckoned that every Icelander receives at least one book for Christmas every year. Of the approximately thousand books published each year in Iceland fewer than 30 make it to the prestigious Kiljan review on national television and only a handful get this kind of critical appraisal …
The illustrated book has been getting great reviews. Legendary journalist Árni Matth praised it in this interview with the author. Don’t forget to switch on the English subtitles!
Great-granddad and the Vanishing Glacier was created when Thórarinn Leifsson had been working for a few years as a tour guide on the South Coast of Iceland, including stories about his great-grandad in the narrative, partly to make sense of his new life. An illustrated book based on those stories took form over a period of two years. At the same time, the author was thinking about powerpoint presentations he had done in the past in schools in Denmark, Germany, and Italy. In his pre-tour guide life, Thórarinn did not talk much about his country; visuals in his earlier work are largely based on classic European painting and the storytelling on growing up in Reykjavík and Copenhagen. That whole outlook changed dramatically when Leifsson became a tour guide in the summer of 2018.
The author has strong roots on the rocky island, having worked as a cowboy on a farm close to Reykholt from the age of nine. He also wanted to tell a story with less text and get back to his origins as an illustrator and painter. So he bought an iPad Pro a year ago and started working on it.
Great-granddad and the Vanishing Glacier is available in major bookstores in central Reykjavík or directly from the author via mail. The book is available in Icelandic, English, German, and Spanish.
Killing Tourists is a sharp and witty crime novel set in the madness of mass tourism. It offers a peek behind the scenes of Iceland’s most bizarre industry just before the Coronavirus forced the world into lockdown. Be prepared to embark on a journey with unexpected twists at every turn. You can read more about it here.
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The Bench – a diary from the Golden Circle gives an insider’s view of the Icelandic tourist boom when it peaked in 2019, just before the covid 19 pandemic. Seventy-six photos document the ever-changing weather in a twelve months period while the text describes a diverse group of international visitors as well as a man on crossroads – caught in a gold rush without an end.
During a one-year period, Thorarinn went on 76 Golden circle tours with international tourists. Each time he stopped at Geysir he took a picture of a bench in the middle of the park. He also kept a diary of whatever took place on each tour and gave the day a rating in TripAdvisor style.
A lot has been going on in the life of Thorarinn Leifsson in the last year. First a divorce after eighteen years of marriage with a subsequent move back to Iceland from Berlin. Then followed by a new part time occupation as a tour guide in the Icelandic highlands – this may prove to be interesting to those who read the last chapter of The Evacuation of Iceland that came out in November 2017.
The Evacuation of Iceland came out in November 2017. The entire population of Iceland (340.000) is transported to a former airfield in the middle of Berlin. It is a somewhat political tale, critical of modern Iceland were a handful of investment enterprises are accumulating most of the wealth while the public is blinded by consumerism that may eventually lead to its downfall. The novel harvested excellent reviews and was praised for its black humor and creative vision. You can read more about that on the book’s homepage or just go straight ahead and read the first chapter.
Thorarinn Leifssons was pretty busy in 2016
May 3-9 Workshop in Greenland. Teaching locals to write and revolt against the Danish Kingdom.
25 May – 3 June Readings in Berlin
Into the Wind! Nordic Children’s and Young Adult Literature Days
12 June On stage interview with Birgir Möller in Copenhagen Crime festival.
7-11 September Readings in Mantova literary festival, Italy.
Within the frames of a Nordic Book festival named „Into-the-wind“ I have now finished two readings and workshops in Berlin for young students and must say that I was very pleasantly surprised by how smart and open the educators in my home city turned out to be – Experiences in other parts of Germany such as Cologne had led me to believe that German teachers and librarians were conservative and far to easily shocked. Continue reading “Readings and workshops in Berlin”
IBBYS international magazine says that Grandmother’s Library is „highly relevant work“.
“Thorarinn Leifsson’s 2009 young adult novel Bókasafn Ömmu Huldar [Grandmother’s Library], inspired by the recent Icelandic financial crisis, is a creative and entertaining work that will appeal to readers of all ages. Continue reading “Flattering review in Bookbird”