Arnaldur Indriðason

It's the Berlin Mystery Story Week, and the guest country this year is Iceland. They are having Icelandic authors reading in the back rooms of bars all over Berlin.

I had my calendar marked in red for this evening, as Arnaldur Indriðason, the author of the book I am currently reading (in Icelandic!) was to be reading, with bad-guy actor Claude-Oliver Rudolph reading the German.

The place was packed - all sold out half an hour before starting time, so they started early, something very uncommon for anything Icelandic who tend to be very nonchalant about things like times. I was there in time to get a seat in the front row (lucky me, Germans are shy) with a friend who also is a fan whom I met coming in the door.

Arnaldur began by reading a few pages in Icelandic as fast as his tongue could carry him. I was only able to pick out a few words here and there, but the melody of Icelandic was there.

Then Rudolph began reading the German. Rudolph is a guy pushing a big, wide, sunglasses-wearing-in-the-dark ego in front of him. He seems to love this bad-boy demeanor. But oh boy, does he ever have a good voice! It is a pleasure to listen to him, except that he mispronounces the Icelandic names - constantly! All Icelandic words are stressed on the first syllable, not the second. We can forgive him not being able to hack the nd and ð and ll and what-not. But he could have at least practiced the stress.

It was an interesting story, I need to read more (which is, of course, the point of these things, get folks to buy the books).

During question time it was much easier to understand his Icelandic. The woman from the embassy unfortunately did not know his works and had to struggle with the translations. But we did get a nice feeling for his character - he seems to be a very funny guy, a bit crazy perhaps, but you have to be to write all these murder mysteries about a city that doesn't actually have murders.

I queued up with the rest of them to get my book signed afterwards. I don't normally do this, but I am slaving away at deciphering the Icelandic, so I decided to get this stamp of approval on it. It's only the paperback edition (and pretty dog-eared by now), but since I asked in Icelandic I got it addressed to me "with best greetings".

Got two pages read through without using a dictionary this evening!!

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