Fist or a Heart

CD - unabridged
Audio (9 discs)
Product Number: BN14662
Released: Sep 24, 2019
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781978659360
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
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The past returns with a fury for a woman coming to terms with her life in this award-winning novel by an acclaimed Icelandic author making her English-language debut. Elin Jonsdottir lives an isolated existence in Reykjavik, Iceland, making props and prosthetics for theatrical productions and Nordic crime flicks. In her early seventies, she has recently become fascinated with another loner, Ellen Alfsdottir, a sensitive young playwright and illegitimate daughter of a famous writer. The girl has aroused maternal feelings in Elin, but she has also stirred discomfiting memories long packed away. Because their paths have crossed before. One doesn't remember. The other is about to forget. Soon they'll discover all they have in common: difficult childhoods, trauma, and being outliers who have found space to breathe in creative expression. Yet the more Elin tries to connect with the young woman and unbox painful memories, the more tenuous her grasp on reality becomes. Winner of the Icelandic Literary Prize, A Fist or a Heart is a gripping, artfully interwoven novel of power, secrets, and isolation by one of the most bracing and original voices of the author's generation.

Professional reviews

"Narrator Janet Metzger has her work cut out for her in this confusing audiobook full of Icelandic words, along with two main characters who have similar names, each of whom has a traumatic past and whose paths cross only obliquely. Ellen is a theater prop maker in her 70s with no friends who is obsessed with a young playwright who is the illegitimate daughter of a famous writer whose name is Elin. Metzger captures fraught emotions, loneliness, and cognitive decline with sensitivity and excellent pacing. But the Icelandic names sound a bit shoehorned into the rest of the story, which is performed in Metzger's Southern accent, and a sense of place never really lands. It isn't really Metzger's fault, but it is difficult to keep straight which Ellen/Elin is which or if, maybe, they are supposed to be the same person. A.B. © AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine"

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