IT HAS all the makings of a leisurely couple of weeks of sightseeing by day and sipping wine around a campfire at dusk – either that or a tension-filled nightmare in which four 30-somethings snap and snarl at each other as the ceaseless forced proximity sets tempers alight.
When two couples – Hrafn and Vigdís, and Egill and Anna – set out from Reykjavík for a driving adventure through the Icelandic highlands, each is looking forward to spending time with his or her partner and friends but is also already nursing their own highly personal and unsettling concerns.
The GFC has left their country crippled, due in no small part to the short-sighted, self-serving actions of lawyers like Egill and futures-trading businessmen like Hrafn – two greedily ambitious young men with a love of living an adrenaline- and drug-fuelled life on the edge.
Although outwardly more settled, their girlfriends – psychologist Vigdís and journalist Anna – are also deeply troubled, not least of all by doubts about their current relationships.
Week one of the journey has passed relatively smoothly, but as the foursome presses on late one night, hungry, exhausted and desperately seeking shelter from a ferocious volcanic sandstorm, their luck expires. Suddenly, with visibility close to zero, their vehicle strikes something immense.
Stranded in an unmapped, supposedly uninhabited wasteland, the group begins to experience a series of increasingly bizarre scenarios.
How can a farming couple in the middle of nowhere eke out an existence without livestock? Why are two supposedly wild Arctic foxes lurking alarmingly close to a homestead?
As resentment and distrust escalate, can the four city-dwellers find a way of escaping what has become a truly terrifying rural ordeal?
Author Steinar Bragi seamlessly blends reality and paranoia, actuality and imagination to create a novel that has been described to perfection as Iceland’s Twin Peaks.