Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

‘Samhengi hlutanna’ – the literary side and sense of the Icelandic bank crash

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Samhengi hlutanna’ (the English title is, so far, Not a Single Word) is my latest novel, published last week. It’s best described as a docu-drama and a financial thriller. It takes place from mid December 2009 till May 2010 in London and Iceland.

Hulda is an Icelandic journalist living in London. She has reported on the Icelandic boom-and-bust and the collapse of the Icelandic banks. When she dies in a bicycle accident her partner, the lawyer-turned-artist Arnar, struggles to hold his life together. A few months later Raggi, an Icelandic journalist and old friend of Hulda, turns up on Arnar’s doorstep. Raggi has decided that with Arnar’s help he is going to finish the book Hulda was working on before she died.

Arnar tries to dissuade him but Raggi, a stubborn Icelander and sober alcoholic, drags him into his scheme. Rambling, they start looking up people that Hulda had talked to, in order to pick up where she left off. One of Hulda’s contacts puts them in touch with Mara, a Hong Kong-based Finnish private investigator. Mara guides them through a maze of intrigues and whole galaxies of off shore companies but she also seems to have her own agenda.

They meet one person after the other who all shed some light on what happened but the bits and pieces don’t add up and no coherent picture emerges. Until, as Mara had predicted, the confusion begins to take shape though Arnar and Raggi find it much more difficult than Mara, specialised in financial fraud, to figure out what really took place.

The Icelandic title can be translated as ‘the context of things’ and that’s what Arnar discovers: a whole new context to what happened in Iceland and eventually to his own family. There is an Icelander who got rich in Russia, bought a bank in Iceland and is now investing in Africa. Another made his money in Latvia.

In the Icelandic context there are company groups stretching from Iceland to Germany, Luxembourg, London, Cyprus and other secrecy jurisdictions where money flows into unnamed bank accounts. Nothing makes much business sense but it all makes sense if the context is money laundering and bribes. And where did the money sloshing around in the collapsed Icelandic banks come from? Not just from Iceland, that’s for sure.

Samhengi hlutanna’ has a Facebook page (with comments and links to interviews, reviews etc) – and can be bought in most Icelandic book shops, so far only in Icelandic, and here on-line.

Follow me on Twitter for running updates.

Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

November 9th, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Posted in Iceland

3 Responses to '‘Samhengi hlutanna’ – the literary side and sense of the Icelandic bank crash'

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  1. Congratulations. When is the English version scheduled?

  2. Thanks! Unfortunately, no English/American publisher has stepped forward. But who knows. At least there is no lack of interest for these topics in the English-speaking world.

  3. […] During the Icelandic boom years Griffith was not the only one to question how the tiny economy of tiny Iceland could fund the enormous expansion of Icelandic banks and businesses abroad. The Russian rumours were persistent, some of them originating in the murky London underworld, all to explain this apparently miraculous growth. Most of this coverage was however more fiction than facts (the echo of this is found in my financial thriller, Samhengi hlutanna, which takes place in London and Iceland after the collapse, published in Iceland in 2011; English synopsis.) […]

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