The Last Days of My Mother


by Sölvi Björn Sigurðsson

August 20, 2014
novel | pb | 225 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"

“A darkly humorous work, but also very sad—a mortal struggle, where the joy of life grapples with the fear of death, and often there is no way of knowing which of the two is on top. The final chapter is, in one word, thrilling. Sölvi has established himself among the most noteworthy of Icelandic writers. Conclusion: Five Stars. A brilliantly written book; funny, melancholy, and very beautiful.”

Thirty-seven years old, freshly broken up with his girlfriend, unemployed and vaguely depressed, Hermann has problems of his own. Now, his mother, who is rambunctious, rapier-tongued, frequently intoxicated and, until now impervious to change, has cancer. The doctor’s prognosis sounds pretty final, but after a bit of online research, Hermann decides to accompany his mother to an unconventional treatment center in the Netherlands. 

Mother and son set out on their trip to Amsterdam, embarking on a schnapps-and-pint-fuelled picaresque that is by turns wickedly funny, tragic, and profound. Although the mother’s final destination is never really in doubt, the trip presents the duo with a chance to reevaluate life—beginning, middle, and end. Although the trip is lively and entertaining, it will also put severe strain on the bond between mother and son, not to mention their mutual capacity for alcohol. (Read an Excerpt)

Translated from the Icelandic by Helga Soffía Einarsdóttir

About the Author: Sölvi Björn Sigurðsson is the author of three books of poetry, as well as three novels. Most recently, The Icelandic Water Book was published in the fall of 2013. A translator of classical poetry, he has also received distinguished nominations for his translation of Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell. His Diabolical Comedy, a modern take on The Divine Comedy, has been translated into Finnish, Swedish, and Danish.

“A pure pleasure. Sölvi has proven without a doubt that he’s our most promising writer.” 
Viðskiptablaðið (Business Weekly)