Sendiherrann

  • Country in which the text is set
    Lithuania
  • Featured locations

    Druskininkai

  • Impact

    The novel Sendiherrann is about Sturla Jón Jónsson, a middle aged poet who also works as a janitor. In the beginning of the story, he has bought a very expensive overcoat and is planning to travel to Lithuania for a poetry festival. In the first part of the novel we follow Sturla Jón as he wanders around Reykjavík. In a hyper-realistic style that is characteristic of Bragi Ólafsson’s writing, the protagonist’s life is gradually revealed: an alcoholic mother, a father who never became the film-maker he wanted to be, a divorced wife and amusing children. The second part takes place in Vilnius when Sturla Jón is on his way to Druskininkai, where the festival is being held. Now the story becomes ever more surreal and reaches a turning point in the book’s third part, which is set in Druskininkai.

    Sendiherrann was nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize in 2006 and for the Nordic Literary Prize in 2008.

  • Balticness

    Iceland has a friendly relationship with the Baltic countries and in 1991 Iceland was the first country to recognize the independence of Lithuania. During the bank bubble, Icelandic investors claimed they were prominent in the Baltic countries, investing in timber and real estate. Therefore it is worth keeping in mind that this deeply ironic novel was written while the hubris of Icelandic bankers was reaching its peak, when they presenting themselves as modern representatives of Viking Iceland. Sturla Jón regards himself as a literary ambassador, but he is not plundering by means of the market, although his dealings with a prostitute might be seen as a kind of a parody of the deeds of Icelandic entrepreneurs. His encounters with common people, prostitutes and bartenders in the streets and hotels and pubs of Vilnius turn his life and ideas upside down and his story thus evokes a number of questions about human conduct.

    Viðar Hreinsson

  • Bibliographic information

    Bragi Ólafsson, Sendiherrann, Mál og menning, Reykjavík 2006.

  • Translations
    Language Year Translator
     Danish  2008  Kim Lembeck
     English  2010  Lytton Smith
     German  2009  Tina Flecken
  • Year of first publication
    2006
  • Place of first publication
    Iceland

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