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Pets by Bragi Olafsson
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Pets (original 2011; edition 2008)

by Bragi Olafsson, Janice Balfour (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8611140,249 (3.25)8
Member:hemlokgang
Title:Pets
Authors:Bragi Olafsson
Other authors:Janice Balfour (Translator)
Info:Open Letter Books; Univ of Nebraska Press (2008), Hardcover, 157 pages
Collections:Your library, To read (inactive)
Rating:***
Tags:Icelandic, Open Letter Series

Work details

Pets by Bragi Ólafsson (2011)

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  1. 00
    Stormland by Hallgrímur Helgason (2810michael)
  2. 00
    Under the Glacier by Halldór Laxness (callmebalthazar)
    callmebalthazar: Iceland breeds some strange writers. Wonderfully strange.
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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
An odd Icelandic story about a man hiding under a bed in his own apartment throughtout an evening in which his friends have a party without him. It is a quick read....mildly engaging with a disappointing ending. The characters are interesting and the plot is clever, yet pverall the story falls short somehow. Oh well...... ( )
  hemlokgang | Nov 5, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A deadpan tale of a man avoiding emotional connection. The narrator goes to increasingly absurd lengths to escape from an annoying former friend, eventually hiding under his bed while his friends and family occupy his home. The novel is strongly reminiscent of the work of Donald Antrim in the way the increasingly ridiculous situation develops without a loss of psychological credibility.
  lucienspringer | Sep 22, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Is it me, or is it Olafsson, or was something lost in translation? Perhaps there's a layer of complexity to The Pets that I'm missing, but this book felt thin, unsubstantive -- enough here for a great short story, but not nearly enough for for a really good book. Sorry I couldn't crack the code on this one. Just as I really got invested in Emil and his strange friends, the story just...ended.
1 vote emccullough | Aug 30, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Emil has won a million kronor. He has been on a shopping spree in London to buy books and music. On the plane home he meets a woman he finds attractive, Greta and takes her phone number. Emil accidentally takes the glasses of the person sitting next to him on the plane. Emil gets home, he puts on some music and boils some water for coffee. At that moment, there is an increasingly loud bang on the door, Emil peers out of the window, it is a long lost accquaintance called Havard who Emil does not want to see. He therefore hides under his bed. Havard breaks in... then proceeds to drink a lot of whisky and wine and have a party with all of Emil's friends. Bizarre and a little pointless. However, quite nicely written. I think the writer is making a point but i'm not sure what it is. Perhaps, don't be a coward and hide under the bed..? Three stars. ( )
  cerievans1 | Aug 15, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As my reading of Icelandic literature has been confined to the classic sagas, I was curious to find out more about the work of contemporary Icelandic writers. As The Pets had picked up plaudits in Iceland and elsewhere in Scandinavia, this seemed like a good place to start.

It's a curious little novel, with a small cast of characters, none of whom is particularly engaging - they're a pretty dreary, sad bunch. Other reviewers have provided a synopsis of the plot so I won't repeat it here. The style is fairly pedestrian of the 'this happened, then that happened; he went down this street and then down that street' variety. Very flat in style and tone.

If you like your novels short and awash with references to excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption and what people do in a bathroom when they don't think anyone is watching, you'll probably enjoy it.

Quite possibly, like Bjork and the Sugarcubes - Bragi Olaffson played bass with the band - The Pets is an acquired taste. I did think of reading it through again to see if I'd missed something but just couldn't summon up the enthusiasm. ( )
1 vote 60GoingOn16 | Jan 15, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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Some enchanted evening/ You may see a stranger,/ You may see a stranger/ Across a crowded room; -- Oscar Hammerstein II
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Someone, wearing an anorak, knocked on my door at lunchtime.
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(from the back of the book) Back in Reykjavik after a vacation in London, Emil Halldorsson is waiting for a call from a beautiful girl, Greta, that he met on the plane ride home, and he's just put on a pot of coffee when an unexpected visitor knocks on the door. Peeking through a window, Emil spies an erstwhile friend - Havard Knutsson, his one-time roommate and current resident of a Swedish mental institution - on his doorstep, and he panics, taking refuge under his bed and hoping the frightful nuisance will simply go away.
Havard won't be so easily put off, however, and he breaks into Emil's apartment and decides to wait for his return - Emil couldn't have gone far; the pot of coffee is still warming on the stove. While Emil hides under his bed, increasingly unable to show himself with each passing moment, Havard discovers the booze, and he ends up hosting a bizarre party for Emil's friends, and Greta.
An alternately dark and hilarious story of cowardice, comeuppance, and assumed identity, the breezy and straightforward style of The Pets belies its narrative depth, and disguises a complexity that grows with every page.
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