Fiction is full of tales of redemption featuring characters who are pulled back from the brink and given either a second chance or a transformed outlook ... Ólafsdóttir’s novel stems from this mould and because of this, may, at first glance, be labelled over-familiar and unoriginal. However, the more we immerse ourselves in it, the more we encounter fresh slants and innovative touches. Jónas’s story is no straightforward arc of rock-bottom despair to renewed lease of life. It is a bumpy ride with many twists and turns – culminating in a jolt on the last page ... Wry and kooky, serious and sad, Hotel Silence enthralls and entertains. Readers yet to discover Ólafsdóttir’s magic should begin here with this, her finest novel to date.
Ólafsdóttir...excels in noticing and describing the travails of everyday lives on the margins of mainstream Icelandic society. We see those details through our narrator’s eyes ... Ólafsdóttir’s writing is at once profoundly Icelandic — focusing the reader on all the particularity of life on that isolated island — and universal ... Skewed is a good word for the rhythm and mood of her writing — her authorial voice is immediate and intimate, yet it feels remote from the Anglophone world.
Icelandic novelist, playwright, and poet Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir offers a bizarrely lighthearted and humorous –– yet nonetheless moving –– portrayal of suicide and post-war life in her latest novel, Hotel Silence ... like [protagonist] Jonas and the inhabitants of this war-ravaged city, much of its original beauty can be restored –– and as Ólafsdóttir shows in her winning novel, it is a task worth attempting.