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July 13, 2012 9:10 pm
Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland, by Sarah Moss, Granta, RRP£14.99, 368 pages
However, the country’s banks had collapsed the previous autumn, and in the week she accepts the post, lecturing on Romantic poetry at the University of Iceland, the value of her salary drops by a third.
Signs of the boom years are everywhere: Moss, her husband and their two young sons rent an apartment in an otherwise empty and unfinished luxury development in an upmarket area of Reykjavik; everyone drives a new SUV; there are no second-hand shops. But it is the people and landscape that make a real impression.
Names for the Sea is a beautifully written and acutely observed examination of being an útlendingur – a foreigner. A stranger in a strange land, Moss grapples with new foods, customs and landscapes that are both oddly familiar and wildly alien in this absorbing memoir.
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