Absolution: a novel

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Pantheon Books, 1991 - Fiction - 259 pages
6 Reviews
In his dazzling literary debut in the English language, Olafur Johann Olafsson - one of Iceland's preeminent and best-selling writers of fiction - gives us the putative memoirs of an Icelandic expatriate living in New York in the autumn of his life, a degenerate, self-styled captain of industry and aesthete who has endured two failed marriages and whose children are "a testimony to a mistake."
Peter Peterson is a man racked by nightmares of a crime of passion he may have committed half a century ago out of unrequited love, a crime that has shaped the rest of his life. His memoirs - a confession ranging from his placid bourgeois boyhood in Reykjavik, to his days as a student in Nazi-occupied Denmark, to his ferocious rise as an immigrant entrepreneur in New York - are refracted not only through his paranoia, manipulativeness, vanity, crazed cynicism, and wry humor, but also through the sensibility of a compulsive fellow countryman who has translated and edited Peterson's scribblings in the settling of Peterson's estate - and who might have made them very much his own.
Sly, highly intelligent, and lucid, Absolution is a brilliant anatomy of obsession, desire, and self-deception.

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Review: Absolution

User Review  - Susan - Goodreads

Excellent writing. This was his first (in US) so clearly not as mature a novel as his most recent, but very good. Very lyrical really, and a poignant look at the way a misunderstood incident can shape a whole life of guilt, paranoia, selfishness, and regret. Read full review

Review: Absolution

User Review  - Leorah - Goodreads

Not my favorite among the Olafsson that I have already read, but an interesting read none-the-less. Read full review

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About the author (1991)

Olaf Olafsson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1962. He studied physics as a Wien Scholar at Brandeis University. He is the author of three previous novels, "The Journey Home, Absolution "and "Walking into the Night," He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.

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