Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

The Atom Station

6 The Atom StationStand-alone novel

This book is included in The Icelanders Cometh crowdfunding campaign run by the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign to raise money for UK libraries to spend on titles translated into English by Icelandic authors to mark World Book Night and UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day.


When the Americans make an offer to buy land in Iceland to build a NATO airbase after the World War II, a storm of protest is provoked throughout the country.

Narrated by a country girl from the north, the novel follows her experiences after she takes up employment as a maid in the house of her Member of Parliament. Her observations and experiences expose the bourgeois society of the south as rootless and shallow and in stark contrast to the age-old culture of the solid and less fanciful north.


‘Laxness’ voice has a very funny peculiar, refreshing and intriguing mix of comic irony and metaphysical angst.’ Marina Warner, Observer

‘Laxness is a poet who writes to the edges of the pages, a visionary who allows us a plot.’ Daily Telegraph

‘An extraordinary book, brimming with little wisdoms, funny episodes, sharp phrases … and a determined optimism of spirit.’ The Times

‘Laxness was a genius.’ The New York Review of Books

‘Magnus Magnusson’s translation reads smoothly and skilfully renders Laxness’s dry and quirky wit.’ Carolyne Larrington, The Times Literary Supplement

‘Laxness has been hailed as Iceland’s John Steinbeck, Sinclair Lewis and Upton Sinclair combined. His is a significant voice in world literature.’ Magnus Magnusson, New Statesman