I am 120 pages into The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason translated from the Icelandic by Bernard Scudder, and I am totally gripped by the brilliance of their collaboration.
The sparky dialogue between Erlendur and his colleagues Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli is just right. There is the wicked humour that crackles when Erlendur and his drug addicted daughter Eva Lind are struggling to form a relationship, and the interesting back story is full of melancholy for a lost and discredited cause. This is wonderful stuff and I am wallowing in the anticipation of more to come as the novel develops.
Of course I could be influenced by the fact that my wife has had a kipper for lunch and the whole house smells like a fish shed in Reykjavik.
"You still seeing that old bag?" Eva said, fiddling with her hair.
"Stop calling her an old bag,"Erlendur said. "Valgerdur's two years younger than me."
"Right, an old bag. You still seeing her?"
Can you get away with bigamy in Iceland? Sigurdur Oli asked.
"No," Elinborg said firmly. There are too few of us."
Bernard Scudder (1955-) is a distinguished translator of Icelandic into English. He has translated old things, like Eigil's Saga and the Voluspa (The Prophecy) and new things, Thor Vilmjamsson's novel, Justice Undone and Einar Mar Gudmundsson's Angels of the Universe as well as a number of Icelandic poets. He was short-listed for the Aristeon Literary Award in 1999. Born in Canterbury, England, he somehow found his way to Iceland in 1977 and has lived there ever since. [taken from www.salmonpoetry.com]