Bragi Ólafsson: The Pets
Open Letter Books
October 2008 (USA)*
*According to the people who are responsible for marketing titles published and distributed by the University of Nebraska Press in Canada, Open Letter have opted out of Nebraska’s Canadian distribution agreement. I am in the process of confirming this with the publisher.
Back in Reykjavik after a vacation in London, Emil Halldorsson is waiting for a call from a beautiful girl, Greta, that he met on the plane ride home, and he’s just put on a pot of coffee when an unexpected visitor knocks on the door. Peeking through a window, Emil spies an erstwhile friend—Havard Knutsson, his one-time roommate and current resident of a Swedish mental institution—on his doorstep, and he panics, taking refuge under his bed and hoping the frightful nuisance will simply go away.
Havard won’t be so easily put off, however, and he breaks into Emil’s apartment and decides to wait for his return—Emil couldn’t have gone far; the pot of coffee is still warming on the stove. While Emil hides under his bed, increasingly unable to show himself with each passing moment, Havard discovers the booze, and he ends up hosting a bizarre party for Emil’s friends, and Greta.
An alternately dark and hilarious story of cowardice, comeuppance, and assumed identity, the breezy and straightforward style of The Pets belies its narrative depth, and disguises a complexity that grows with every page.