2020 Longlist

Woman at 1,000 Degrees


Translated from the Icelandic by Brian Fitzgibbon

2020 Longlist

Herra Bjornsson is at the beginning of the end of her life. She has two weeks left, maybe three and has booked her cremation appointment, at a crispy 1,000 degrees, so it won’t take long. But until then she has her cigarettes, a World War II era weapon, some Facebook friends, and her memories to sustain her.

And what a life this remarkable eighty-year-old narrator has led. From Herra’s childhood in the remote islands of Iceland, where she was born the granddaughter of Iceland’s first president, to teen years spent living by her wits alone in war-torn Europe , to love affairs on several continents, Herra Bjornsson moved Zelig-like through the major events of the twentieth century.

About the Author

Hallgrímur Helgason is an Icelandic painter, novelist, translator, and columnist. His first novel was published in 1990 and he came to international fame with his third novel, 101 Reykjavik, which was translated into fourteen languages and was made into a film.

Librarian’s Comments

A gripping and hugely enjoyable read, with an unforgettable protagonist. Reykjavík City Library, Iceland

THE AUTHOR Hallgrímur


Algonquin Books


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