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20-year old Lilja is in love. As a young university student, she is quickly smitten with the intelligent, beautiful young man from school who quotes Derrida and reads Latin and cooks balanced vegetarian meals. Before she even realizes, she's moved in with him, living in his cramped apartment, surrounded by sour towels and flat Diet Cokes. As the newfound intimacy of sharing a shower and a bed fuels her desire to please her partner, his acts of nearly imperceptible abuse continue to mount undetected. Lilja desperately tries to be the perfect lover, attempting to meet his every need. But in order to do so, she gradually lets go of her boundaries and starts to lose her sense of self.
With astounding clarity and restraint, Hj rleifsd ttir sheds light on the commonplace undercurrents of violence that so often go undetected in romantic relationships. She deftly illustrates the failings of psychiatric systems in recognizing symptoms of cruelty, and in powerful, poetic prose depicts the unspooling of a tender-hearted woman desperate to love well.
Grove Press, Black Cat, 9780802157393, 208pp.
Publication Date: July 13, 2021
About the Author
Meg Matich earned her Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University's Creative Writing. She's received support for her literary translation work from DAAD, the Icelandic Literature Centre (through publishers), PEN, and the Fulbright Commission. She has translated poetry into English and Icelandic for UNESCO, as a representative of Reykjavik UNESCO in Lviv, Ukraine.