greenhouse22-year-old Arnljótur is leaving Iceland. Adrift following his mother’s untimely death, he has persuaded a remote European monastery to permit him to resurrect their once-famous rose garden. He hopes to find himself in solitary horticulture, far from the poor soil of the lava fields and the pressure of his father’s expectations. But no matter how far he goes, Arnljótur will find that the world is full of unavoidable responsibilities. 

Snowblind has several things going for it. Firstly, the central character, Ari Thor. Young, smart, impetuous, and deeply confused, he’s a convincing mid-20s bloke tackling his first job – all desire to prove himself and no common sense. Secondly, the location. I have developed a big soft spot for Iceland, and Siglufjordur is a perfect pot-boiler setting – a small settlement on the north coast, which is inaccessible in deep winter as the sea is wild, the mountain pass iced closed, and the single-lane tunnel through the mountain gets blocked by avalanches.

We promised to take Mr B’s parents away when they came to Europe this year. Being who we are, we suggested Iceland; after all, there’s nothing quite like taking someone from Australian autumn and introducing them to Arctic spring. This isn’t cruelty; it’s educational. After some uncertainty on account of a spat of poor health (mine), I booked us late flights for a 5-night escape to the northern edge of Europe.

Yes, I’m procrastinating. Two posts in one day? What else could possibly be going on? I’ve got a document to draft by Tuesday, and I meant to have it finished by Thursday evening. It’s far from done, so I’m crossing off other bits of mental laundry so that tomorrow can be as productive as physically/mentally possible. Terrifyingly, it’s nearly 6 months since I last jotted notes here on my recent reading. In the meantime, I’ve finished 32 books (what can I say, the longer commute and the part-time work suit me down to the ground). As last time, links go to my commentary elsewhere online.