Nothing to be Rescued

Ásta Sigurðardóttir


The short stories of Ásta (Jóna) Sigurðardóttir (April 1, 1930- Dec. 21, 1971) marked a breakthrough in modernist prose in Icelandic, though she herself remains a somewhat unsung hero in the island’s contemporary literary history. All told, Ásta published around two dozen works of short fiction and poetry. Many narrativize a double standard, while others bring strife―poverty and income inequality; alcoholism; assault and abuse; orphanhood―to the fore. Her love of nature, at the same time, thrived in her writing throughout her short life. These fragmented narratives are powerful warnings. In Ásta’s wild, hallucinogenic, frissonic prose, they become living wonders, too.

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ISBN: 9781803522548 Category: Tag:


She caused a sensation from her early short story debut in the avant-garde magazine Líf og listin 1951 with “Sunnudagskvöld til mánudagsmorguns”, a description of drunkards, the homeless, and the promiscuous on the fringes of society. The narrative is pithy and metaphorical with elements of fantasy, the language sensuous, erotic, and partly grotesque. Her short story collection Sunnudagskvöld til mánudagsmorgunswas published in 1961 and was reprinted in the collection Sögur og ljód, 1985, together with a number of posthumous short stories, poems, and unpublished pictures. Nordisk Books will be publishing a selection of the short stories featured in Sögur og ljód,including a number of the pictures, under the titleNothing to be Rescued,translated by Meg Matich.

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