Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir. I don’t really worry to much about the cover of a book but I do have to mention I love the cover for this book, my favourite colour and a highly original cover to boot
Snare is published by one of my favourite publishers Orenda Books and you don’t even have to wait to buy a copy, if you pop over to Amazon “one click” and it’s yours.
Although I haven’t got a review to share with you I do have a fabulous guest post from the author herself.
Strange names … Strange places
I once had an English friend who couldn´t read a book I gave her because she thought the names of the characters in the story were too strange. The book was Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness´s Independent people and she really lost out on a good story there. But I did understand. Icelandic names are indeed strange and Halldór Laxness didn´t really use the easiest ones. Now that I have my first book translated into English, I have been terrified that readers would give up and think that the names of people and names of places are too difficult to deal with, and therefore miss out on the story. But I can see right away, by the feedback I am already getting, that there is no reason to worry and my old friend was just a wimp and not at all representative of the average reader of the English language.
To my benefit I´ll say that I don’t use so many strange names for the characters. I use more modern names, in line with how people are named in Iceland nowadays. We of course still have our patronymic system for surnames, where everybody is somebody’s son or daughter (dóttir) but the given names have simplified in the passing of time and now trend towards the international as old Nordic, heathen names give way to biblical ones. Sara is a more popular name that Thorgerður now, and Adam much more common than Hallfreður.
But the places are another matter. As my stories mostly take place in Iceland I have to name the towns and streets and mountains and restaurants and those are hard to simplify or translate. If the name of our capital Reykjavík was translated into English it would be named Smokey Bay. And that just doesn´t sound Icelandic. It sounds more like a place somewhere in North America.
Besides the strange names themselves, we also have a different way of spelling them. Our alphabet has quite a few variances from other language alphabets as all our vowels can be accentuated to give a different sound, some of them in more than one way, like o can be ó and ö. Then for fun and complications we also have some extra consonants.
My translator, Mr Quentin Bates, has been an advocate for introducing some of the Icelandic alphabet into literary translations and in Snare the decision was made to use the letter ð in the names and places it belonged, such as in Ríkharður and Davíð. The ð makes a very weak th-sound, but could as easily be spelled with d. I do hope readers will like this little quirky Icelandishness in the book.
I have stopped worrying now about readers possibly being put off by Icelandic names and places, as I have heard from quite a few early readers, and not one of them mentioned difficulties with the names. Just that they enjoyeded the story. And that´s the way it should be. Because translating literature is all about opening up the world, and giving people access to new stories. Even if the names are strange…
After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies.
Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
About the author
Lilja Sigurðardóttir is an Icelandic crime-writer and playwright, born in 1972. She is the author of four crime novels, Steps (Spor), 2009, Forgiveness (Fyrirgefning), 2010, Snare (Gildran) 2015, Tangle (Netið) 2016 and Cage (Búrið) 2017.
Her debut stage-play Big Babies (Stóru Börnin) was staged in the winter of 2013-2014, became critically acclaimed and won the Icelandic Theatre Prize Gríman as “Best play of the year.”
Lilja´s latest book, Tangle, (Netið) was published in Iceland in October 2016 by Forlagid publishing. The rights to the novel have already been sold to France/Switzerland/Luxembourg/Canada (Éditions Métailié); World English (Orenda Books)