VITALITY BROOK

Full English translation available

Nominated to the Icelandic Literary Award 2019

On the far northern, most thinly populated shores of the Westfjords in Iceland flows a little brook that the inhabitants believe to have great healing power. It is said that anyone who drinks one cup of the brook’s water per day, cannot die— which in turn gives the body the opportunity to heal itself. Even now, the brook is still called Vitality Brook.
This was in the days when the life of the Icelandic nation hung by a thread. The greatest volcanic eruption in the history of Iceland began in 1783, with the earth spewing fire and toxic gases for nearly an entire year. Men and beasts were decimated, grass could no longer grow, the sea froze and hindered fishing.
A plan was proposed by the Danish authorities, then the colonial lords of Norway and Iceland, to relocate all able-bodied Icelanders to Denmark and Finnmark in Norway. This historical fact forms the framework of this novel.

The Danish authorities´representative sent to Iceland, a scientist, falls in love with a local woman; he gets severely injured one one of his expeditions, and his beloved goes looking for the healing water which she strongly believes will cure him.  Birgisson elegantly tells a lovestory while discussing science, faith, and colonialism.

One of the most interesting, enjoyable, and different
texts that I've read here in a long time.
Bergsveinn Birgisson´s best title.

Philip Roughton, translator Icelandic/English

(...) Bergsveinn Birgisson´s best novel so far (...)
A remarkable story which gave me goosebumps. I feel no need to read a thriller this christmas, having read Vitality Brook will keep me satisfied for a while"

(...) Bergsveinn Birgisson´s best novel so far (...)
A remarkable story which gave me goosebumps. I feel no need to read a thriller this christmas, having read Vitality Brook will keep me satisfied for a while"

RUV (Icelandic National Broadcasting), Iceland

5/5 stars; Vitality Brook will find its way to many readers; this adventorous and well written story deserves it (...) masterfully and powerfully written (...) Incredibly funny!

Morgunbladid, Iceland