The coincidence struck me and not just because Arnaldur occasionally writes about Iceland's uneasy accommodation of its recent immigrant population. More to the point, Erelendur is not always at ease in his own country. Thus, I thought, his name may be thematically significant.
Imagine my excitement last night when I read the following, in Arctic Chill, about a boy named Niran:
"`Niran,' Erlendur said to himself, as if to hear how the name sounded. `Does that mean anything in particular?'Niran is nowhere to be found at this point in the story, and his brother has just been found dead, likely the victim of a stabbing. Eternal is a bitterly ironic name for a child who at this moment may be anything but, just one more piece of evidence that a name is more than just a name for Arnaldur.
"`It means eternal,' the interpreter said.
"`Thai names have literal meanings, just like Icelandic ones.'"
(Arctic Chill was short-listed for the 2009 CWA International Dagger Award for best translated crime novel. The award went, as this award often does, to Fred Vargas and translator Sîan Reynolds, for The Chalk Circle Man.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2009