When the author sent through the review copy of this book, he said, ‘I hope you enjoy it.’
‘Enjoy’ is the wrong word. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been more upset or unsettled by a novel. Grant Nicol tells the story of Ylfa, a free-spirited but directionless young woman living on her own in Reykjavik. When a young man is horribly murdered on her father’s farm she is determined to unravel the mystery. However, she isn’t prepared for what follows. What should have been an isolated incident spins into a dark and crooked tale involving kidnapping, arson and rape.
At its heart, On a Small Island is about our inability to escape our past. The setting in Iceland is perfect, and Nicol gives a wonderful sense of the claustrophobia of a small community. The denouement is unfortunately handled a little too quickly, but the book remains gripping throughout.
I’m not sure I can say all that much more without giving too much away. Read this book. Just don’t expect to sleep easily for the next week or so.
Rating: 4.5 stars