Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Killer Arms

I cannot write much of anything today for reasons relating to both my arms which are undergoing extreme pain and numbness. I can best describe the condition by likening it to feeling as my arms are undergoing labor contractions. Not exactly a nice feeling and I will become very upset if my arms give birth to baby arms. Especially since I am in my late forties and these baby arms would probably have Downs syndrome. But this scenario is unlikely to happen as I have been diagnosed with one of two things, either an extreme allergy to mosquito bites I got on my vacation or a disc prolapse in the neck. I must mention that in Iceland we do not have mosquitoes so some of us react rather badly when bitten. And we have no cockroaches either. Most Icelanders are pretty afraid of bugs and lizards as a result, I am not since I grew up in Texas and have seen my share of creepy crawlies.

But anyway, I am now on steroids in the case it is an allergy and am scheduled to have an MRI scan to see if the discs in my neck are shot to hell. The steroids are helping so hopefully it is not the disc thing since that requires physiotherapy and/or surgery which has to be done from the front of the neck although it involves the spine which was in the back of the neck last time I checked. In addition, this operation would leave me with a scar that would really increase the head transplant look I have spent the last two weeks trying to get rid of.

But my medical history is not all that interesting so I will tell you the one newsworthy thing that has happened to me since I returned on Monday. Much to my joy my last book “I Remember You” just won the Icelandic Crime Book of the Year Award and will be Iceland’s nomination for the Nordic Glass Key Award. This is what the judging panel had to say about the book:

In this book, Yrsa Sigurdardottir shows how well she handles the most important aspects of a good crime novel: brilliant plotting and ever increasing suspense.

Furthermore, Yrsa shows that she is fully capable of playing with the genre of crime fiction itself in a creative way and not entering the formula realm sometimes associated with the genre. Yrsa utilizes the heritage of Icelandic literature, working with ancient folk tales, mainly old ghost stories that originate from the isolation and darkness aptly described in the book. As she‘s done before, Yrsa uses an Icelandic environment to create a mystical atmosphere, and mixes it with motives derived from the European horror tradition. Thus, Yrsa opens the door for a literary genre that has hardly any tradition within Iceland: the horror story.

One of the main things characterizing Icelandic crime fiction is how it mirrors Icelandic society. In I Remember You, the financial crisis is used as the background and in this respect it is interesting that the main subjects of the book are betrayal, anger, revenge and the vicious circle of fear and violence.

Thus, Yrsa‘s work can be interpreted in numerous ways, in addition to being multifaceted and using the Icelandic literary heritage in a modern way. All threads come together in a convincing plot and the forte of the book is that Yrsa succeeds in doing what is an absolute must in all accomplished crime novels and thrillers: firmly grabbing the reader's attention and not letting go until the very end.

I apologize for using the panel’s words for self-promotion but I am just so happy and pleased that I could not resist. And with pregnant arms I must make the most of the good stuff life throws my way.

Lastly, I can only hope that I will not be drug tested, being on steroids I would probably be disqualified and stripped of the prize. Pride comes before a fall.

Yrsa - Wednesday


  1. No need to apologize. With your Texas background, I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "It ain't bragging if it's true."


  2. Kudoes and all good thoughts. hope your malady is soon a thing of the past. Congratulations!

  3. My God. What a week you've endured. But it appears from the photo you've topped it all off with the Golden Mosquito award...

    Congratulations, well done.


  4. I may move to Iceland. I don't do well in the heat and I hate all insects, crawling or flying. Does Iceland have snakes? My backyard does so I have thought of moving to Ireland.

    Your sense of humor is always such a joy. The idea of pregnant arms, no matter at what age, is shocking enough to be hilarious. Did the doctors promise you that the steroids would give you so much energy that you would clean your house and the houses of your neighbors all in a day? I was promised such remarkable energy but it was a fairy tale; no such thing happened. Steroids do make me crave cashews so there is an upside to the treatment.

    Congratulations on the award. Quoting the judges isn't self-promotion; it is a sharing of information that I will use. Is there anything we in the US can do to get make all your books available here?

    Don't worry about being tested for drugs; carry the prescription bottle with you.

    The tests my neurologist uses are the same that the police use when they pull a driver off the road whom they suspect of driving under the influence. I fail everyone of the tests. I have to be very careful when I drive.

  5. Congratulations! That's exciting news.

    Hopefully, that means U.S. libraries and bookstores will move faster on order your new books. (It's annoying to have to wait so long!)

  6. Here's hoping those arms don't give birth to babies but that your fingers will soon facilitate the birth of your next book. Sorry you're not feeling well but CONGRATULATIONS on the award nom...brilliant and can't wait to read it Cara

  7. Hooray for you, Yrsa, and hope (a) you win and (b) you recover without becoming addicted to steroids. And if you do, don't try out for American baseball. We may not enforce 90% of our laws, but we're hell on professional athletes who use steroids.

    I REALLY hope you winn.

  8. Congratulations, Yrsa. What great news about the award!
    And look on the bright side.If you do get those new arms, typing will become a doddle!


  9. So sorry about your pregnant arms, and so happy about your award. Now I have another of your books to look forward too. I hope you get well without too much struggle.

  10. Yrsa--

    Congratulations on the award, and best of luck with the next contest.

    Glad to hear the steroids are working; alleviating the pain is well worth your having to forgo riding in the Tour de France this year.

    But in the meantime, by all means, grow a baby arm or two. The authorial metaphor is irresistible, and the publicity would be spectacular.


  11. Thank you all so very much for the above comments.

    Dana - your comment made me realize I have been away from Texas too long. I really need to go back, just a bit afraid that Houston will be very different than what my childhood memories portray.

    Beth - you are welcome to Iceland anytime and we have no snakes aside from the political snakes in the grass you find in all countries.

    Kathy d. - the book will be available in the US but probably not until late next year. The other Thora books 3-5 are also scheduled for publication there and I will try to find out when.

    Cara - thank you!

    Tim - I tried baseball as a kid and I was too afraid of that rock passing off as a ball to play. Maybe the steriods will cure me of this and you will see me spitting yuck (I do not know what that thing is called but yuck seemed appropriate) in the dugouts of one of the minor league teams.

    Hi Michael - it would be like you and Stan, four arms. I have often envied you guys of that extra set.

    Hi Stan - thanks!

    Hi Lil - thanks, it is all getting better by the day, thanks to those steroids.

    Hi Lenny - oh the publicity would be amazing, could not agree more. I was once in Prague at a book fair with another Icelandic crimewriter that always wears sunglasses. He was meeting his Cheq publisher for the first time and this guy became super happy when he saw him, shouting "Oh this is great! You are blind! I did not know that - how wonderful for advertising." He became more subdued when told the guy had 20/20 vision.

    thanks again everyone

  12. Our French publisher was dismayed when she saw us for the first time - she was ardently hoping for a pair of black aces from Afrique du Sud.

  13. Yrsa - all hail you and your ailing arms. Congrats on the award. Well deserved.

    Though I'm intrigued who your shades wearing Icelandic cohort was....

  14. What a pregnant post! (Not quite sure what it means, but in a joke, anything goes..)

    What I meant was, get well soon, and congratulations on your well-deserved award.

  15. Hi Dan - the author was Árni Thorarinsson. I am going to try and paste his picture into this comment so that you will better understand the publishers reaction.

    OK it did not work.