Translated fiction round-up: Piercing Icelandic novel about coercive relationship

Plus works from Nina Berberova, Evelina Santangelo, Julián Fuks, Iris Hanika, Mario Levrero

Thora Hjörleifsdóttir: her novel is as sinuous as molten rock

Thora Hjörleifsdóttir: her novel is as sinuous as molten rock

As its title suggests, Magma (Picador, 208pp, £14.99), the debut novel by Iceland’s Thora Hjörleifsdóttir, translated by Meg Matich, is as sinuous as molten rock.

A piercing story of a relationship that moves beyond instant attraction to coercive control into outright abuse, Magma is told in simple, stark chaptered paragraphs humming with lyricism (Hjörleifsdóttir is also a published poet) and the curious world view of a narrator who appears simultaneously very young and very old. “When I feel as if I’ve flayed myself with a potato peeler, I remind myself: Love is a spectrum. It is as painful as it is wonderful.”

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