A Happy Little Island

A Happy Little Island

Lars Sund, Peter Graves


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In the beginning the page was blank and without form, and the scribe sat in front of it, a world forming inside his head. The world grew large, spilling out of him and on to the page. The scribe shaped the world into an island. He named it Fagerö, and populated it with an assortment of likely and plausibly unlikely characters, and saw that it was good for his purposes. The people of Fagerö were often divided against each other but united in their appreciation of their happy little island. Then the dead bodies began to arrive: hordes of them, washing ashore with no identification and no one to claim them. The island was changing, and the small-town quirkiness becoming less restrained. And the bodies kept arriving, forcing Fagerö’s inhabitants to confront the unhappy truth that, even on their remote island, the world’s horrors and injustices could not be ignored. This was prescient at the time of writing and is sadly relevant in 2016, the year of this English translation. A Happy Little Island is an elaborate tale told with style and intelligence. The number and variety of Sund’s Dramatis Personae make Fagerö the perfect stage for an encounter between common humanity and the insularity and fear of change that affect all cultures.