Island Zombie: Iceland Writings

Princeton Univ. Oct. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9780691208145. $35. TRAV
Horn (Remembered Words) refers to herself as a “permanent tourist” in Iceland, having made frequent and extended sojourns there since the 1970s. The author has walked, hitchhiked, and traveled its environs by dirt bike, staying in tents, and occupying an abandoned lighthouse. Her deep connections with this cold-blooded, treeless terrain are revealed through lyrical prose punctuated with poetry verses. Her vignettes contrast the dreaminess of the place with the harsh realities of its unforgiving winds, ice, floods, lava flows, and ash. Horn delves into how the extreme climate conditions shape the country’s culture and explains how Iceland is “[b]ig enough to get lost on; small enough to find yourself.” Her existential musings are supplemented by reports from Icelanders young, middle-aged, and old, reminiscing about their lives, and excerpts of Horn’s writings published in Iceland’s nationally distributed newspaper.
VERDICT this memoir will resonate with readers who have traveled to Iceland, those who have this place on a bucket list of destinations, and others who crave solitude as a journey, not minding storm and stress.

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