Kolbein Island

Focus title NORLA fall 2021
Among best novels of the year 2021, Bok365


A man decides to visit his depressed friend who is admitted to a psychiatric ward. They start talking to each other and pick up their friendship again, but are constantly interrupted by the nurse in charge. The friends decide to flee from the hospital together, but it soon turns out that they are being persecuted by the angry nurse. It develops into a fierce chase that ends with them overpowering the woman and traveling on with her tied up in the back of the car.

The escape from civilization is becoming increasingly challenging, and the two friends must seek refuge in remote areas in order to remain together. They set course for the outermost island in the north that belongs to Iceland – Kolbeinsøy – constantly with the aggressive nurse as a travel companion.

Kolbeinsøy is a warm and surprisingly positive novel about life and how we live with the demons we can not get rid of.

Bok 365, Norway

Vivid, captivating - uncontrollably funny, touching and thoughtful roadsaga, I read it in one run. A page-turner which is constantly taking new, unpredictable turns

Niels Beider, chief editor Gyldendal Denmark

...a novel beyond most I have read. Bergsveinn Birgisson has a pen and a narrator's voice far off the beaten track. I will hardly let go of "Kolbeinsøy" for a while.

Nettavisen, Norway, 5/6

(...)you get three in one. First, a painful book about depression. Secondly, an absurd travelogue. And third, a critique of the spirit of the times. One would not believe there was room for all this in such a short novel, but then the Icelanders have long since proven that in literature it is not the size that matters.

Klassekampen, Norway

(...) a terrific drama with lots of excitement and everyone's lives at stake. Entertaining reading about madness, both the individual and the social.

5/6, Stavanger Aftenblad

The most amazing book I read this Christmas...endless warmth, intelligence and humor - and a clear intolerance of the present.

Ásgeir H. Ingólfsson, Iceland, 4.5/5

The story revolves around depression, insanity and what it is that causes a person to lose himself...a journey through the unexplained lands of the mind as well as through Iceland...

Gauti Kristmannsson, RUV, Iceland