The Journey Home, by Olaf Olaffson
First, I have to say that I spent three days reading this book without ever realizing that the image behind the lettering was a woman's face. It was only when I pulled up the image on Google Images for this review that it hit me. Up until now, I just thought it was an abstract image!
That admission out of the way, I have to admit that I didn't really enjoy this book, up until the last hundred pages or so. Ostensibly, this is the story of a dying woman's journey back home to Iceland, and the re-telling of her life story occasioned by the experience. In reality, I found the story disjointed and incredibly hard to follow at times, particularly in the beginning, where I would have given up had I not been reading this for the European Reading Challenge. We hop from present to past to middle-past with no sign-markers to tell us what time period we are reading about at any given time, and with frequent references to "him" that are not identified until much later in the story. Perhaps this was intentional -- a representation of the way one's mind flits from one memory to another without bidding and without always having an obvious reason for the chronology of the memories being relived. In that case, the writer probably succeeded. I found the style of writing to be very difficult to follow, however, never knowing from one chapter to the next what I would be reading about. While there is an overall chronology of journey from beginning to end, it is so interspersed between seemingly unconnected memories that it is hard to see it until you've read the entire book. Ultimately, I found the story interesting, and the very short chapters made it a bit easier to keep reading, but I had to work for this one, and can't say that I truly enjoyed myself. This one is recommended for those who like to work a bit for their enjoyment. 2.5 out of 5.