Potter´s Field


The novel Blóðakur (1996), translated to English by Ólafur Gunnarsson and Jill Burrows.

From Potter's Field:

The plane had just begun its descent east of Iceland when a stewardess, walking down the aisle checking that all seatbelts were fastened, noticed that one of the passengers, a fat young man with a deathly pale face and bushy red eyebrows, was staring straight ahead with his mouth open in abject terror. She looked at him for a moment. He put her in mind of a fish. She asked him to fasten his seatbelt, but he did not seem to hear her. She touched his shoulder and repeated her request. The man opened and closed his mouth as if about to say something, but no words came and his eyes rolled in his head. She eased herself between the seats, lifted his seatbelt, fastened it across his paunch and gently patted the back of his hand. 'There's nothing to be afraid of,' she said. 'We're in good hands.'

The plane was approaching the Westmann Islands, swiftly and steadily losing height. The stewardess returned to the back of the plane, bracing herself to counteract the angle. In the aisle seat in the back row there was a very handsome middle-aged man fast asleep. She thought she recognized his face. She whispered, 'Please fasten your seatbelt. We'll soon be landing.'

The man opened his eyes and it seemed to take him a moment to remember where he was. Suddenly she could put a name to the face: Hördur Gottskálksson, the surgeon who'd made such a public fuss when he'd been dismissed by the National Hospital. The stewardess moved towards the front of the plane, passing the small number of passengers, most of them foreigners, dotted about the cabin.

The angle of the wing flaps changed, exposing the mechanism inside. At the wing tip a stony shoreline was visible. A little way out ia fishing boat was going about its business, its net like an inflated balloon in the green sea.

The stewardess stedied herself by holding on to the back of a seat and asked a drunk who was demanding more whisky to hand her his plastic glass. 'I'm sorry, it's not possible. We're about to land.'