Valentines

Stories

By Olaf Olafsson
Pantheon, Hardcover, 9780375424687, 224pp.

Publication Date: January 30, 2007

List Price: $23.00*
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Description

From the acclaimed Icelandic author of Absolution, The Journey Home (now about to start filming under Liv Ullmann’s direction) and Walking into the Night: a haunting collection of thematically linked stories that encompasses the twelve months of a year, capturing the most candid moments between lovers, husbands and wives, parents and children–when truths and true feelings surge to the surface and everything changes.

Olaf Olafsson’s fans will recognize the perfect restraint and precision–and quick wit–with which he characteristically explores these dark epiphanies, when the heart is suddenly laid bare, whether by love or betrayal, disenchantment or regret, or the shock of loss. While their settings range from the East Coast to the West Coast, from Paris to Slovenia and Iceland, these contemporary stories probe the complexity of modern relationships over time. A wife realizes her closest confidante is much more than that. A father tries to make his new lover into the image of his late wife. A lusty photographer confronts his own mortality. A couple’s long-anticipated anniversary vacation opens onto the past. A husband, a wife, a child, a boating accident: no harm done . . . and yet?

Each of the twelve stories reveals another element in the agonizing nature of passion, diminished and yet sustained over time. This is a powerful work of fiction from one of our most gifted and subtle international writers at work today.




About the Author
Olaf Olafsson was born in Reykjavík, Iceland, in 1962. He studied physics as a Wien Scholar at Brandeis University. The author of three novels–The Journey Home, Absolution and Walking into the Night–he lives in New York City with his wife and three children.



Praise For Valentines

Praise for The Journey Home

“An impressively mature and wide-ranging book, both geographically and emotionally . . . Soulful and thoughtful.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Compelling . . . Akin to Thomas Mann . . . An astonishing story of confusion,
loss and denial.” –Chicago Sun-Times

“A novel lifted by love, friendship and cooking. [The protagonist’s] is a hard, unflinching life, and one skillfully revealed.” –Time

“[Olafsson’s] understatement allows the tragedy to build until it speaks finally
and devastatingly for itself.” –The New Yorker


Praise for Walking into the Night

“Olafsson, a tremendous talent, has written an unforgettable novel.”
The Boston Globe

“A work of genuine art–so poignant, so thoughtful, so brilliantly conceived and constructed . . . This is the way books were meant to be written.”
Chicago Tribune

“Quietly moving . . . An evocative tale of grief and hope.”
The New York Times Book Review

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