Why Did You Lie?

Translator: 
Year: 
2017
Publisher: 
Place: 
London
Author of Review: 

Why Did You Lie?

(Lygi, 2013)

Why Did You Lie? contains all the elements of a classic Yrsa thriller: an isolated and scenic location, buried secrets and traumas from the past, and several storylines that gradually come together into a tight-knit plot.

In fact, the book has three separate storylines, each in a different setting: Four people are dropped off by helicopter to undertake maintenance work on the remote Þrídrangaviti lighthouse, positioned on a narrow reef that juts out of the ocean off Iceland’s southern coast. Meanwhile, far away in Hafnarfjörður, a family returns from holiday to find no trace of their houseguests, an American couple who they swapped houses with during their stay in Floriday. At the same time, a policewoman in Reykjavík tries to distract herself from her husband’s sudden and unexplainable suicide by digging into old police reports but instead finds herself conducting an investigation into her husband’s family history.

As the book alternates between these three settings, the reader observes how the foursome at the lighthouse gradually falls into paranoia before succumbing to violence – as is ominously predicted in the book’s prologue by a brief and fragmented glimpse of their harrowing end.