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The Ambassadorby Bragi Olafsson
Synopses & Reviews
Sturla Jón Jónsson is invited to represent Iceland at a poetry festival in Lithuania, which is the beginning of his troubles. While at the conference, his overcoat is stolen, his article about how stupid literary festivals are causes a huge controversy, and he's accused of plagiarism. And that doesn't even include his encounters with the bizarre festival attendees.
"Ã“lafsson's dark, delightful tale of an alcoholic Icelandic poet representing his country at a poetry festival in Lithuania brims with mordant commentary and beguiling narrative cul-de-sacs. The book begins with one of many nods to Gogol as Sturla JÃ³n JÃ³nsson buys an expensive overcoat that he will promptly lose at the festival. Then the situation worsens: Sturla gets mixed up with a SalomÃ©-inspired striptease gone wrong, is accused of plagiarizing in his latest book, gets harassed by a garlic-breath prostitute, and resorts, in a moment of desperation, to thievery. Ã“lafsson (The Pets) skillfully fills in Sturla's dysfunctional family history while building up to the festival, then wastes no time in painting his protagonist into a corner once he gets there. The tension over how and whether Sturla will escape his comical problems is satisfying, as are Ã“lafsson's sly observations about literary and Icelandic culture. If the eventual resolution feels too easy, there are enough discordant notes and painfully awkward situations to add depth and angst to this look into the messy calculus of life. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Sturla Jn Jnsson, the fifty-something building superintendent and sometimes poet, has been invited to a poetry festival in Vilnius, Lithuania, and his latest poetry collection, published on the eve of his trip to Vilnius, is about to cause some controversy in his home countrySturla is publicly accused of having stolen the poems from his long-dead cousin, Jnas.
A send-up of a poetry conference (something like AWP) that involves bossy Americans and stolen overcoats.
About the Author
Bragi Ólafsson is most well known for playing in The Sugarcubes. He is the author of several books of poetry, a number of plays, and five novels. His works have been finalists for the Icelandic Literature Prize and Nordic Literature Prize, and he has received the Icelandic Bookseller's Award.
Lytton Smith is a poet and translator, and a founding member of Blind Tiger Poetry. His book, The All-Purpose Magical Tent was published by Nightboat. His poems and reviews have appeared in such publications as The Atlantic, The Believer, and Boston Review.
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