"The weathered black stone of the parliament building made it look more like a prison than the cradle of democracy"
Snare is a slice of cool Nordic Noir about a woman, Sonia, caught in a trap as a drugs smuggler into Keflavik airport whilst fighting her ex over custody of their son. Sonia's resourcefulness to make ends meet in such a high stakes environment creates a tension that Sigurdardottir exploits to brilliant effect throughout the novel as the narrative steams ahead with the pace of Sonia's fast paced moves to evade capture.
The Iceland in Snare remains in the grip of the banking crisis which brought the island to its knees in 2010. The country remains deeply suspicious as the Government, and the media, continue to round up those involved in the financial deals which led to the collapse of the economy; "The weathered black stone of the Parliament building made it look more like a prison than the cradle of democracy".To complicate matters further Sonia ends up in a passionate relationship with Agla, one of the cold and apathetic executives involved in the investigations.
As the grey ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption relentlessly settles on the streets of Reykjavik so too does the white powder that Sonia continues to bring in to Iceland despite the ongoing suspicion of Bragi a senior customs officer at Keflavik. As the plot develops the snare tightens to the point where Sonia faces her most audacious job yet smuggling a quantity of cocaine into Iceland from London.
Snare is an exceptionally good thriller translated into a pacy and urgent English language, by Quentin Bates, that is edge of the seat stuff. I immediately warmed to Sonia who does what she needs to in order to provide for Thomas in spite of her difficult and complex relationship with his father and equally difficult relationship with Agla who can't come to terms with her professional reputation and her visceral feelings for another woman. But its customs official Bragi who offers up the greatest surprise in the end.
Lilja Sigurdardottir we need more, Quentin Bates you're going to be busy.
I read this novel in paperback mostly over a weekend at home in Oxfordshire. Read more reviews of Icelandic literature here; Ragnar Jonasson Jon Kalman Steffanson
Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir (translated by Quentin Bates), published by Orenda Books, 276 pages.
Agree with my review? Comment and share to join the discussion #readmorebooks