Anchor Books, Paperback, 9781400030682, 272pp.
Publication Date: October 14, 2003
In his spellbinding first novel, acclaimed Icelandic author Olaf Olafsson takes us inside the mind of a man haunted by the crime he willed half a century earlier.
Expatriate businessman Peter Peterson left behind the trappings of a seemingly charmed life: a vast fortune, two children, and a stately Park Avenue address. But he also left behind another legacy: a secret from long ago that shadowed his accomplishments and estranged him from his loved ones—a crime of passion, committed in the throes of unrequited love, that became a lifetime’s burden. Yet when Peter is forced to confront the consequences of his actions, an unexpected turn of events shakes the very foundation of his past. Spanning a boyhood in Iceland to the Nazi occupation of Denmark to modern-day Manhattan, Absolution calls up Dostoevsky and Ibsen as it masterfully plumbs the darkest corners of a sinister mind and a wounded heart.
“Brilliant . . . a tour de force.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Powerfully accomplished. . . . Absolution sets long reverberations tolling in the reader’s mind.” –The New York Review of Books
“A clever, unexpectedly enjoyable novel of crime and punishment.” –The New York Times
“A fascinating, wintry tale of a frozen heart.” –The Wall Street Journal
“A literary triumph. . . . The book works extremely well both as a psychological thriller and as a character study.” –The European
“A solemn, intellectually challenging work.” –Chicago Tribune
“The first book in English by this top-notch Nordic novelist, who may become that true rarity, an Icelandic Nobel Prize winner.” –Forbes Magazine
“Surprisingly effective. . . . This story of crime and punishment is an impressive novel. . . . A modest, but not unworthy, offspring of Dostoevsky’s towering predecessor.” – The Economist
“Compulsive reading, and the spare, dry language concentrates the suspense. . . . As cold and lucid as a quartz crystal.” –Independent on Sunday
“Spellbinding. . . . Formidably written.” –Entertainment Weekly
“The novel whose aftertaste has lingered longest this year is Absolution. . . . Its deep humanity and elegiac tone made it oddly exhilarating. . . . A superlative example of the genre, which reverberates in the reader’s mind because of the craftsmanship and integrity which Olafsson has brought to the story.” –Sunday Telegraph
“[A] sophisticated novel . . . written in clear, sparse prose.” –The Times (London)
“Olafsson’s debut as a writer in English has more than curiosity value: this is a fine novel.” –Time Out
“Icelander Olafsson’s style has the linear austerity and emotionally supercharged restraint that seems a Nordic hallmark. . . . The honesty of this first-person account of a traumatised conscience holds the attention. The slow-burning fuse of the narrator’s guilt . . . smoulders through skilled writing and narrative integrity.” –The Observer
“Funny, sad and utterly enjoyable.” –The Spectator