Winner of the 1991 Icelandic Literary Prize, The Swan is a masterful work by one of Iceland's most accomplished novelists and one of its leading fictional innovators. A nine-year old girl is sent to live and work on a country farm to serve her probation for shiplifting, a common form of punishment in Iceland. There, in a powerful, unchanging landscape, she experiences a community torn between ancient tradition and new attitudes. She confronts new and painful feelings and has to face the unknown within herself and her alien surroundings. The contrasts that Bergsson carefully develops throughout the novel, between the grotesque and the beautiful, the comical and the dramatic, come to a powerful conclusion in an almost surreal confrontation by a lake between the girl, the swan, and a lamb.
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animals answered asked backside bank beneath birds blue dun boat brass band breath buttercups calf calm clouds coach colour countryside cows daughter ditch dogs dream drove earth everything eyes farm farmer farmer's daughter farmer's wife farmhand father feel feet fetch flowers front German girl girl felt grass greeted grew hand head heard horse horseback Icelandic Icelandic horses inside jeeps knew lake laughed legs light listening looked Magic realism mare marsh marshland meadow milk mind mooing mother mountain mouth never night once Paul Binding pulled rain riding river road rode seemed SHAD THAMES side silence Simon Armitage sitting sleep smell smile snorted someone soul started stomach stood stopped straight suddenly sunshine swan teats telepathic tell thing thought transsexuals tried turned udder waiting walked Walkman wanted watched wetland woman women words young