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Monday, January 28, 2013

Voices


Erlendur has developed a sense of humor. In the third installment in this detective series, he is joking with his colleagues now in Arnaldur IndriĆ°ason's Voices. It is Christmas time in Iceland and the hotels are filling up with tourists. Santa has been killed and Erlendur has taken up residence in the hotel, where the murder took place. He seems to be developing a friendship with a woman that has lifted the gloom from him. His daughter is clean and has a job. Who would have thunk I would be chuckling about a murder and its peculiarities in Iceland in the dead of winter. It is Erlandur's fault. Santa slain in his cave wearing a condom.
Beyond the mystery, Erlendur explores relationships. Fathers and sons. Family. Love. He reflects on his own father and brother. He struggles with his own daughter and absent son. He is dissecting the dead man, former choirboy, and his demanding father and what became of them after the accidents. Even Elinborg’s case of the abusive father with a son who broke a Drambuie bottle invades Erlandur’s space. And then there is his new female interest skirting the perimeter looking for a way in. Another important theme is HOME. Gulli sneaking back into his home at night without making contact with his father or sister until she accidently discovers him. Erlendur doesn’t go to his home and instead he stays in the hotel. Images of HOME from Clockwork Orange and Thomas Wolfe’s posthumous treatise come to mind as I sit comfortably in my new home. Throughout, Erlendur is probing his own psyche and allowing his daughter to open him up. In spite of the dark and dreary aspects of murder and Iceland at Christmas time, Voices is uplifting and redemptive.

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