by Sigrún Pálsdóttir

May 9, 2023
novel | pb | 193 pgs.
5" x 8" 


How do you turn old gold into priceless treasure? 

At the turn of the twentieth century, Sigurlína finds herself in a hopeless situation. She is the motherless daughter of an eccentric father, who expects her to spend her life helping him catalogue Icelandic archaeological artifacts.

But Sigurlína has her own ambitions of education and excitement and after a harrowing experience, takes fate into her own hands. She disappears from Reykjavík, along with a historical relic from her father’s collection. Through a series of incredible events, the artifact is unveiled at The Metropolitan Museum of New York. Meanwhile, officials in Iceland launch their own investigation into the theft of the artifact.

A tragicomic tale about the preservation of cultural treasure, an intriguing perspective on the coincidences that have determined their place in history and a thrilling and winding story of the human fates that underpin it all.

Translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith

About the Author:

Sigrún Pálsdóttir completed a PhD in the History of Ideas at the University Oxford in 2001, after which she was a research fellow and lecturer at the University of Iceland. She worked as the editor of Saga, the principal peer-reviewed journal for Icelandic history, from 2008 to 2016. Her previous titles include the historical biography Thora. A Bishop’s Daughter and Uncertain Seas, a story of a young couple and their three children who were killed when sailing from New York to Iceland aboard a ship torpedoed by a German submarine in 1944. Sigrún’s work has been nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize, Icelandic Women’s Literature Prize, Hagþenkir Non-fiction Prize, and the DV Culture Prize. Uncertain Seas was chosen the best biography in 2013 by booksellers in Iceland.

About the Translator:

Lytton Smith is a poet, professor, and translator from the Icelandic. His most recent translations include works by Kristín Ómarsdóttir, Jón Gnarr, Ófeigur Sigurðsson, Bragi Ólafsson, and Guðbergur Bergsson. His most recent poetry collection, The All-Purpose Magical Tent, was published by Nightboat. Having earned his MFA and PhD from Columbia University, he currently teaches at SUNY Geneseo.


Praise for Sigrún Pálsdóttir.:


"Pálsdóttir writes with the hand of a mystery author and the mind of a postmodernist, teasing out her protagonist’s problem while playing with literary forms, fragmenting timelines, and injecting fierce irony." –Publishers Weekly 

"What I admire most about Pálsdóttir’s writing is her ability to hide a strictly structured course of events under a gliding, occasionally deliberately (but not distractingly) chaotic style; her ability to orchestrate the random; to construct a perspective for the narrator that, most of the time, reveals both everything and nothing about what is actually going on; and the way she covers real tensions and worries with a quilt of details, as they are so often covered in life." —Rein Raud, European Literature Network