The Lodger and Other Stories

Place: 
Reykjavík
Year: 
2000

A collection of stories by Svava, translated to English by Julian Meldon D'Arcy, Dennis Auburn and Alan Boucher. With a preface by Ástráður Eysteinsson: At Home and Abroad. Reflections on Svava Jakobsdóttir's Fiction.


Published by The University of Iceland Press in 2000 and by JPV in Reykjavík in 2006.


The book contains the following stories:


The Lodger (Leigjandinn)
Kitchen to Measure (Eldhús eftir máli)
Party Under a Stone Wall (Veisla undir grjótvegg)
A Story for Children (Saga handa börnum)
Return (Endurkoma)
Pebble (Fjörusteinn)
A woman with a Mirror (Kona með spegil)
A View (Útsýni)
Everything Fades Into Oblivion (Fyrnist yfir allt)
Give Unto Each Other ... (Gefið hvort öðru ...)
Photographs (Myndir)
Under a Volcano (Undir eldfjalli)
Tourist (Ferðamaður)
A Crab, a Wedding, Death (Krabbadýr, brúðkaup, andlát)
Swimming (Sund)
In a Man's Dream (Í draumi manns)
My Brother's Story (Saga bróður míns)


From The Lodger and Other Stories:


Honestly, he didn't even knock.


She stood up against the closed bedroom door, her body tensed as if she were holding the door closed by force. Day had turned to evening. She and Peter had drifted around the sitting-room for a while after the evening meal. But hthey could not sit down anywhere. At least not in a way they found comfortable. The sofa had gone into the hallway and one of the armchairs was full of cushions. Peter let his wife have the other armchair and sat himself on a dining-room chair. He tried to immerse hinmself in reading, but it was difficult for a tired man to sit on a dining-room chair with a book in his hands. The book slowly slid down, the letters blurred; he desperately grabbed hold of the seat of the chair to keep himself upright. He gave up reading and started striding around the room. He walked briskly, stretching himself now and again, as if he were flexding the tiredness out of his body, walking it off. His wife offered to let him have the armchair, she could sit on a dining-room chair for a while. Peter said that he wouldn't hear of it, but maybe it would be better if they just want to bed, it would be good to go to bed early for once, it was a terrible Icelandic habit, staying up all hours, idling away the time ....


And in the bedroom they were alone at last.


Peter sat on the bed, having kicked off his shoes. He sighed with relief but all the day's uncertainties now burst forth from her and demanded reckoning.


He didn't even knock, she said yet again.


Peter stretched out his legs where he sat and started to rub his calves. His legs were always so tired at the end of the day.


Who? he asked.


Him, said his wife and ndded in the direction of the hallway beyond the closed door.


Peter stopped rubbing for a while and looked at her:


I could have sworn the sofa wouldn't have fitted in the hallway. I was really amazed.


He then bent down and rubbed his insteps.


I'm still thinking about having it done, he said. This is becoming intolerable.


Having what done?


Having the soles of my feet asphalted.


You know it doesn't work once you're an adult. It has to be done when you're a child.


(22-23)