Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller


by Guðbergur Bergsson

July 11, 2017
novel | pb | 500 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"

“Guðbergur Bergsson achieved success with his novel Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, which shocked Icelandic readers in innumerable ways.”
—Dagný Kristjánsdóttir

A retired, senile bank clerk confined to his basement apartment, Tómas Jónsson decides that, since memoirs are all the rage, he’s going to write his own—a sure bestseller—that will also right the wrongs of contemporary Icelandic society. Egoistic, cranky, and digressive, Tómas blasts away while relating pick-up techniques, meditations on chamber pot use, ways to assign monetary value to noise pollution, and much more. His rants parody and subvert the idea of the memoir—something that’s as relevant today in our memoir-obsessed society as it was when the novel was first published.

Considered by many to be the “Icelandic Ulysses” for its wordplay, neologisms, structural upheaval, and reinvention of what’s possible in Icelandic writing, Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller was a bestseller, heralding a new age of Icelandic literature. (Read an Excerpt)

Translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith

About the Author: Guðbergur Bergsson is the author of twenty-one books, from novels to children’s literature, and a translator from Spanish into Icelandic. He has received the Icelandic Literary Prize and the Nordic Prize.

About the Translator: Lytton Smith is the author of The All-Purpose Magical Tent, and has translated works from Bragi Ólafsson, Jón Gnarr, and Kristín Ómarsdóttir, among others.


“Bergsson is known in his homeland for his translations of Gabriel García Márquez, and the debt to García Márquez is clear in this sparsely sensual, idyllic fable of country matters.” 
Publishers Weekly