Thursday, September 13, 2012

What did Yrsa know, and when did she know it?

When I met Yrsa Sigurðardóttir at Bouchercon 2008 in Baltimore, Iceland's economy had just crashed. When Yrsa and her husband weren't worrying that their credit cards had been rendered worthless, we speculated about what the crash would mean for Icelandic crime fiction. Too early to tell, we decided.

Turns out that Yrsa may already have had some ideas.

Her novel The Day Is Dark, published in English translation in 2011 but in its original Icelandic in 2008, is peppered in its early chapters with references to the currency crash and how it might affect daily lives:
"Fortunately they hadn't taken a loan in foreign currency for the purchase, as so many who now bore the consequences of the falling Icelandic króna had done, but the payments had increased nevertheless and they were eating into their income."
"...a two-story single-family home which was to be divided into two separate apartments to save the owner ... from the black hole of the currency basket loan that he had taken at the wrong time."
Next time I see Yrsa (and I'll see her soon), I will ask when in 2008 she wrote those passages. What did Yrsa know, and when did she know it?
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir will be part of my "Murder is Everywhere" panel at Bouchercon 2012 next month in Cleveland, Saturday, October 6, 10:15-11:05 a.m.

Here's the complete Bouchercon schedule.
© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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Blogger seana graham said...

Yeah, you probably shouldn't blame her for the whole Icelandic meltdown though.

September 14, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

But it's interesting that Yrsa may have been speculating already about what the crash would mean.

I could be imagining things, but I seem to recall that most books in Iceland are published around Christmas. If that was the case, the bits about the currency crash might have been last-minute additions. I'll see how the motif figures as the book goes on. And this, of course, is a possible question for Yrsa on our panel.

In other Bouchercon news, you were right about R.J. Ellory. He has dropped out.

September 14, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

She and her country did appear for a while to be associated with disasters that happened around the time of crime-fiction conventions, the Icelandic crash and eruption of that unpronounceable volcano, whose ash threatened to scuttle everyone's flights to Crimefest in Bristol one year.

September 14, 2012  

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