6 X 9 inches, 206 pages
Quick Quick, Said the Bird
Translation of: Fljótt Fljótt, Sagói Fuglinn
Translated from the Icelandic by John O'Kane
Scandinavian Literature in Translation
THE MOST PROMINENT ICELANDIC AUTHOR since Halldor Laxness (Nobel Prize 1955), Thor Vilhjálmsson is also one of Iceland's most internationally acclaimed authors. And now finally in English, Thor's remarkable contribution to modernism and post modernism can be assessed. First published in 1968, Quick, Quick Said The Bird was a landmark in Icelandic fiction. It uses the technique of the nouveau roman, incorporating an existential-romantic journey through which "characters arrive at a conception of 'reality' through images and allusions.... Thor's characters are obsessed with story-telling and fabulation" (Astradur Eysteinsson).
Thus, frequent references to film and art both lead and follow, as the title's allusion to T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets implies.
Thor's fiction is "inseparable from metafiction, for he foregrounds the freedom and fantasy at work in the creation of literature; we observe how stories come into being and how parts of the novel are little by little fitted together from the inside" (Eysteinsson).
Thor Vilhjįlmsson (born 1925) is part of a class of writers that rejects the pull of tradition in Iceland, writers who refuse to treat purely local themes and situations. Thor's contact with the world outside Iceland has been on many levels. He has lived for varying lengths of time in England, Italy, Sweden and Denmark, speaks and reads the major European languages and has travelled widely. His three prose works Under an Artificial Moon (1959), Rain in the Dust (1960), and Shapes of the Day, and Night (1961), draw primarily on travel impressions from the Soviet Union, Western Europe and the Mediterranean.
Thor's first work of fiction, Man is Always Alone, appeared in 1950, followed by The Days of Man (1954), Faces in the Mirror of the Drop (1957), The Cry of the Scarab (1970) and Moon-Sickle (1976). A comical work called Folda came out in 1972.
[need to track down bio info for O'Kane]