August 14, 2018
novel | pb | 120 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"
"Ólafsson’s English-language debut, The Pets, is part Beckettian or even Kafkaesque black comedy, part existential novel in the Paul Auster mode, and part locked-room mystery."
On a rainy day in the middle of June, on the day England and Costa Rica meet in the World Cup, G., a thirty-five-year-old aspiring writer is waiting in line at the post office to mail off a manuscript—a story about a day in the life of a thirty-five-year-old man.
That’s when he notices a man he knows. Or rather knew. Sort of knew. A man who used to go out with a girl G. loved from afar. The only girl he’s ever loved. All his hatred of this man comes rushing back—including his foolish wish that the man would die—and he takes off, following him throughout the streets of Reykjavik. This strange game of cat and mouse takes some dark turns though, evolving into a complex, introspective journey of a man struggling to complete the unfinished narrative of his own life. (Read an Excerpt)
Translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith
About the Author: Bragi Ólafsson is the author of several books of poetry and short stories, along with six novels, including The Pets and The Ambassador, both of which are available from Open Letter Books. He is also a former bass player with The Sugarcubes, the internationally successful pop group that featured Björk as the lead vocalist.
About the Translator: Lytton Smith is a poet, professor, and translator from the Icelandic. His most recent translations include works by Kristin Ómarsdóttir, Jón Gnarr, Ófeigur Sigurðsson, and Guðbergur Bergsson.
"The best short novel I’ve read this year. . . . Small, dark, and hard to put down, The Pets may be a classic in the literature of small enclosed spaces."
—Paul LaFarge (on Ólafsson's The Pets)