Sigurdsson (1918-88), an Icelander, is considered one of that country's literary heavy-hitters; here--for a first taste in...

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THE STARS OF CONSTANTINOPLE: Stories

Sigurdsson (1918-88), an Icelander, is considered one of that country's literary heavy-hitters; here--for a first taste in translation--it is his short fiction that has been given us. Writing mostly in an understandably pastoral mode, Sigurdsson pays unavoidable attention to what Iceland looks like (""I am not going to try to describe,"" the narrator of ""An Old Narrative"" says, somewhat archly, ""how the glacier appeared to me that morning, outlined against the sky far away to the east, nor the clouds, white and soft above the glacier, nor our mountain, snow-free, with patches of green moss and dark blue rocks""). What life is like within that land- and sea-scape, amongst the moors and fjords, is fairly much a peasant affair of eternal cycles: a young boy falls in love for the first time (""The Changing Earth""); an old pastor reaches the end of his days (""Pastor Bodvar's Letter""); a crafty old carpenter embodies human knowledge (""Building Pyramids""). Better translation might have helped (""I had no premonition of the misfortune that awaited me on the other side of a few unborn hours as I stood newly dressed on the farmhouse terrace and gazed across the faded meadows, which were wet and dreary after the previous day's downpour"")--but, as is, this is not a terribly compelling introduction.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 1992

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Louisiana State Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992