The Ambassador

The Ambassador Sturla J n J nsson the fifty something building superintendent and sometimes poet has been invited to a poetry festival in Vilnius Lithuania appointed as he sees it as the official representativ

Sturla J n J nsson, the fifty something building superintendent and sometimes poet, has been invited to a poetry festival in Vilnius, Lithuania, appointed, as he sees it, as the official representative of the people of Iceland to the field of poetry His latest poetry collection, published on the eve of his trip to Vilnius, is about to cause some controversy in his home coSturla J n J nsson, the fifty something building superintendent and sometimes poet, has been invited to a poetry festival in Vilnius, Lithuania, appointed, as he sees it, as the official representative of the people of Iceland to the field of poetry His latest poetry collection, published on the eve of his trip to Vilnius, is about to cause some controversy in his home country Sturla is publicly accused of having stolen the poems from his long dead cousin, J nas.Then there s Sturla s new overcoat, the first expensive item of clothing he has ever purchased, which causes him no end of trouble And the article he wrote for a literary journal, which points out the stupidity of literary festivals and declares the end of his career as a poet Sturla has a lot to deal with, and that s not counting his estranged wife and their five children, nor the increasingly bizarre experiences and characters he s forced to confront at the festival in Vilnius .

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    158 Bragi Ólafsson Lytton Smith
The Ambassador

  1. Bragi studied Spanish at the University of Iceland and the University of Granada He has had a number of different jobs in Reykjav k, at the post office, in a bank and in a record store He was also a member of the Sugarcubes, and toured with them in Europe and America.Bragi s first published work, the poetry collection Drags gur Draught , appeared in 1986 Since then, he has published other books of poetry, short story collections, plays and novels His first novel, Hv ldardagar Days of Repose was nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize in 1999 and the next one, G lud rin The Pets also in 2001 He received the DV Cultural Prize for the novel Samkv misleikir Party Games in 2004 and his novel Sendiherrann The Ambassador was nominated for the Nordic Council s Literature Prize in 2008.Bragi is one of the founders of the publishing company Smekkleysa Bad Taste which has mostly put out music and organised various kinds of events.

193 Reply to “The Ambassador”

  1. First, I want to say thank you to the guy who knows Karen that I have never met who gave her this book I think his name is Chad Thank you Chad One of the really great things about Karen and greg is that when people give them free books they go out of the way to get these people nice reviews of these books Back in the day when Zweig was floating around, Greg gave it to me after he was done with it because he was hoping that I might like it a bit and have something nice to say about it, I am not [...]


  2. This reminded me a bit of The Elegance of the Hedgehog in that I hated the character and wasn t sure if the author expected me to like them In this case, I decided by the end that the author intended for the character to be a loser, so I gave it 3 stars.



  3. Review here thesecondpass p 6748 Full text of Second Pass review After a recent reading in a small, internationally stocked New York bookstore, Icelandic author Bragi lafsson prepared to answer questions from the audience about his newly translated novel, The Ambassador But rather than asking about the novel, or a previous novel The Pets, published in the U.S in 2008 , or his prose style and writing inspiration, or even his former gig as the bassist in The Sugarcubes a band fronted by Bj rk , th [...]


  4. I could not summon the energy to finish this I might have even liked it, but it didn t grab me enough to finish it and life is too short to trudge through books you re not invested in.


  5. Translated from the Icelandic by Lytton SmithIt s tough being a poet First, there s the whole stereotype of the cerebral, tortured artist who offers the world little but obscure verses Then your Dad starts doing the passive aggressive thing and slights your work whenever he can Your son calls your career a hobbyhorse You get no respect.This is the world for Sturla Jon, a sucessful poet from Iceland He s tough, sarcastic, and is finding it hard to even respect himself any He still writes poetry, [...]


  6. Sturla J n, the anti hero protagonist, is a man who has gone through a lot in his life His parents are long separated, his mother an alcoholic, he divorced in a distant past and his five children are estranged from him I cannot say for sure whether one should pity him for the unfortunate events that have befallen him, or that he is simply as an island onto himself Perhaps that makes him the perfect ambassador for Iceland Not really His conduct and character are hardly appropriate for a represent [...]


  7. I probably shouldn t have read this right after reading the abortion, but doing so did make me realize the similarity between lafsson s style and Richard Braughtigan.That aside, the book didn t connect with me much Largely a criticism of the arts community and specifically the poetry community , it s often hard to tell where the ironic detachment lets up maybe it never does If you re looking to read an Icelandic book, this probably isn t the place to start, although it did seem to win an awful l [...]


  8. I ll be honest I skimmed the last third But I don t think I should have had to read than half the book to get to a plot point described on the back cover, especially since there aren t any other tensions to maintain the reader s interest in the book By the time I got to the accusation like I said, it s on the cover , I could see that there wouldn t be much return on my investment of time The translation reads nicely, though, and seems to indicate solid literary development on the part of the a [...]


  9. I wanted to like this one as I don t read many books from Icelandic writers, but this was just dull Not much happens really and whilst I m not one of those needy readers who needs a lot of whiz bang in my plot, I don t, I do need a little going on than is given with The Ambassador Huge sections of this, nothing happens Maybe that s the intention of Olafsson Bombard us with the mundane, little moments of this 51 year old guy who buys a new overcoat, talks to his father, has conversations about h [...]


  10. DISCLAIMER I am the publisher of the book and thus spent approximately two years reading and editing and working on it So take my review with a grain of salt, or the understanding that I am deeply invested in this text and know it quite well Also, I would really appreciate it if you would purchase this book, since it would benefit Open Letter directly.


  11. A funny but sad look at the life of an Icelandic poet who is ostensibly representing his country at a Lithuanian poetry conference The Ambassador has many threads to pick I enjoyed following the influence of Gogol s Overcoat The Ambassador is on my blog here.


  12. I m interested in Icelandic literature, I love literary festivals, and I m not someone who requires explosions and sex or even much of a plot in the books I read, but this story was so achingly dull I couldn t make it past the first 100 pages I d definitely try and read another book from Iceland, but not from this author.


  13. Most people who don t like this book have complained that it has no plot True enough If you re willing to forgive the author this eccentricity, though, you might find yourself enjoying his strange yet familiar characters and wonderful sense of the absurd.



  14. Really funny understated humor at the expense of writers and poets It was interesting to see an Icelandic perspective on the rest of the Baltic.



  15. It is an odd book Think of this as an indie movie If you are looking for some sweeping conflict This is not the book for you.



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