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101 Reykjavik

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  681 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Hlynur Björn is an unemployed 30-something loner, still living with his mum, who spends his days on the Internet, watching satellite TV, and gazing at girls in the pub. But Hlynur's cosy, unthreatening world is shaken when his mother comes out as a lesbian, and her Spanish girlfriend Lolla moves into their home. 101 Reykjavík is a first-person account of a blackly funny an ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 6th 2003 by Faber and Faber (first published 1996)
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I read the English translation of this book. The translator, Brian FitzGibbon, has his name buried on the copyright page, which is a shame because a novel like this has got to be a tough one to translate. FitzGibbon seems to have done an admirable job, but since I can hardly compare his work to the Icelandic original by Hallgrimur Helgason, I can't be sure.

I had trouble with the first third or so of this novel; the style of writing that puts the reader inside protagonist Hlynur Bjorn Haffsteinss
Lorenzo Berardi
Oh My Bjork.
I still remember this one. I wish I had forgotten it.

Well, I might have a very good reason for keeping the memories of '101 Reykjavik' alive.
You may say it's because of the post code, but you would be wrong. Actually I'm not planning to send any flattering paper letter to Hallgrìmur Helgason. And I am afraid that dispatching a wrapped package full of rotten tomatoes to him would cost me way too much via air mail. What a pity!

Perhaps I can recall this novel 6 or 7 years after having
Thomas Strömquist
OK book. Does not stand out very much from others in its genre (reading the blurb will tell which that is) other than that it's set in Iceland. Which is a nice difference.
Helgason was the only author I couldn't interview back when I was in Iceland in 2000, so maybe that's why I never got around to reading it; or maybe its because it was the most over-hyped thing ever when I was living there; or maybe because everything I ever read about it made me dislike it; or maybe because every interview with Helgason made him seem like a complete dick. Anyway, I've never read it, but I still hate it.
May 25, 2010 Klara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who enjoy quirky books and are not easily offended.
Shelves: iceland
Hlynur, the novel's protagonist, is healthy and intelligent enough to support himself, but is so unmotivated that he prefers to live with his mother and take advantage of the welfare system. He spends his days watching porn, partying, and chasing women, assessing every female he meets based on how much he would be willing to pay to sleep with her. Being an ambitious young woman who abhors misogynists, I expected to hate this book based on the nature of its protagonist. In the end, however, I lov ...more
Jun 05, 2007 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 20/30 somethings, who have been to Reykjavik
This is probably one of Iceland's best known film exports, if not just for the fact Damon from Blur did the soundtrack with ex-Sugarcube Einar Orn. Again, Hilmir Snaer is in it, so I would see it just for that...hehehe...but, seriously, I could not get into this book at first...even after I saw the movie. I just could not understand or relate to Hlynur Bjorn...but then I went to Reyjavik and got to know alot of the people (not because of the movie) and I read it again, and it Hlynur started to s ...more
Gemma Alexander
You’re supposed to read the book first. The movie is never as good and it will limit your imagination when you do read the book. I know this. But I watched Baltasar Kormákur’s movie, 101 Reykjavík, before I knew it was based on Hallgrímur Helgason’s novel. I really liked the movie. It felt a lot like an Icelandic Slackers; that’s the primary difference between the book and the movie.

The protagonist Hlynur Björn is hapless in the movie. In the novel he is hopeless. The word play in 101 Reykjavík
Rachael Hewison
This is possibly one of the most bizarre books I have ever read. It doesn’t actually go anywhere; just details the life of an incredibly annoying moron.
Hlynur is just awful. He has no social skills, no awareness of what’s going on, is incredibly self-centred and overall an idiot. He lacks any charm to make the reader emphasise or even like him and seems mentally disturbed. A lot of what he says and thinks is really quite offensive and vulgar and at times it made unpleasant reading, particularly
i wanted to like this. but about five pages in, i wanted to punch the protagonist in the face. set in iceland makes you almost forget the book is about an unemployed slacker hipster doofus. almost. i like iceland. i want to visit iceland. i do not want to read about a hipster doofus.

i may try reading this again when i don't have anything else on my list. it has a certain weird charm. just maybe. if i can get past hating the main character.
I am so glad this book is over. The author tries far too hard to be edgy and witty. There were one or two fleeting moments in the book that made me smile but these were needles in a haystack of misogynistic crap. I have no idea how this book got published. I would only recommend this book to somebody I despised.
Hlynur Bjorn is a pathetic, clueless-bordering-on-sadistic, antihero who never wins your heart, except for the fact that he is as miserable as he makes those around him. Still I laughed out loud with this beat novel set in 1990s Reykjavik, which I bought to read along with a pile of Icelandic fiction while on a trek there. I can't tell you how many Icelanders either 1) looked at me as if I was carrying porn and asked me whyever I was reading it, 2) apologized for it, or 3) emphasized that no one ...more
Very good, and I suspect a very good translation. It's a little Nabokov, a lot of Hamlet, and probably many other references I missed, with pell-mell stream-of-consciousness good enough to make me not hate the present tense he uses. A touching story about a boy and his penis.
Mi ricordo le scarpe con cui mi mandavano in campagna: una suola, la linguetta, le stringhe e i buchi per infilarle. Ai tempi in cui gli oggetti erano quello che erano. [...] Le naik saranno sicuramente più saporite dei vecchi modelli in pelle di pecora. I modelli moderni servono a far dimenticare cosa sono le cose. Progresso? Forse. Me le sono provate, una volta, delle scarpe così. Sensazione di vuoto d'aria. Non c'era niente che potesse assomigliare al concetto di <> o di <>.

Well, I have now read this book. And yeah, it was mildly diverting, and yeah, I got to the end of it, but overall I was a bit disappointed by it and a bit overwhelmed by the way this guy's mind just drivelled on and on and on. This is narrated in the first person by 30-something Hlynur Bjorn, who is an absolute waste of a space, still lives with his mother, treats people, particularly women like crap, lives off unemployment benefit and spends his days sleeping, watching porn (he is an utter perv ...more
This book was probably okay for someone who likes slacker novels, but I'm not one of those types. The protagonist made me think of an adult Holden Caulfield. He was in his thirties, unemployed, on the dole and living with his mom and her lesbian lover. He spent his spare time watching TV, chatting online with a girl from Hungary, hanging out in bars and scouting women.

The story revolves around three pregnancies: Hlynur's girlfriend's, his mother's lover's, and his own sister's. He believes he's
Ian Mapp
Wanted to read something set in Iceland and a search on the interweb brought me to the attention of this author. Set in a district of Reykjavik and telling the comedy story of a 30th slacker, it seemed in along the right sort of lines. Then I determined that it had been filmed and Damon Albarn wrote the music and that sealed the deal.

The story is straighforward. Hlynur Bjorn lives at home with his mother, who has just come out of the closest. He spends his daying drinking and watching dodgy film
Sorry Helgason, aber das Buch schaffe ich nicht. Ich glaube ich lese es einfach mindestens 10 Jahre zu spät. Ich habe es aufgegeben.
Der Protagonist geht mir so auf den Keks, das ich die teilweise witzigen sätze und Einfälle einfach nicht geniessen kann.
Der übersetzer hat bestimmt einige Nächte darüber gesessen, denn die Sätze sind manchmal wirklich köstlich und witzig ins Deutsche übersetzt, aber die Geschichte kommt einfach nicht durch bei mir. Der Durchhänger Hlynur wont bei Mutti und deren Fr
Vanessa (V.C.)
I don't know what it is about this novel and the movie based off it, but I like it. The protagonist is by no means likeable, and all the characters aren't particularly likeable or interesting either. I guess it's the oddity of the plot that intrigues me, as well as the clever, witty, sometimes philosophical stream-of-conscious commentary about Icelandic/pop culture, and all sorts of other references from the political, musical, and scientific which makes this a compelling, humorous, and entertai ...more
A dick-lit classic: contains a misogynistic narrator (comes in packaging with Oedipal complex that would make Freud weep with joy), dozens of repulsing sex scenes, and a sad excuse for plot.
Akira Watts
300+ pages of mostly stream of consciousness rambling from a thirty something Icelandic slacker shouldn't work. But somehow it does.
I really couldn't decide how to rate this book. One one side it got on my nerves all the time cause the main character Hlynur is just too much. I really do hope that not too many people run around that broken. Or that kind of sexist broken. But maybe they do. And maybe it's good to have an insight in their line of thinking. But mostly it just bored me.
On the other hand their are so many great quotes in that book. I had the feeling I could take out a quote almost every page in the first half of t
Neil Hodgson
Hummmmm!! Was very keen to read this as it all takes place in the postal district of 101 Reykjavik - this is where we spent two weeks this summer. The novel is continuous prose , with no chapter headings so difficult to pause and continue the thread. Hlyner Bjorn, the anti hero is a git to be honest, lazy and a waster and as such is hard to empathise with - though I am sure some can. The novel does give a good insight into modern (1996?) Icelandic life and youth culture but some bits do not seem ...more
Johanna DeBiase
Kerouac/Brautigan/Thompson, but more sexist. Yes, the narrator is a thirty-something living at home with a mom fetish, watching porn and rating women and their body parts based on how much money they are worth to him, not that he has any money since he lives on welfare. That aside, loved the trippy, stream-of-consciousness and insight into urban Icelandic culture (at least in 1996). Fun read, I whipped through it on the airplane home from Iceland.
Haven't done this in a while; shelved it before finishing. He writes well; really well but I just wasn't getting into it. It was too far in the past for me I think, 1995 or so. And the protagonist just wasn't that interesting a character to sustain my focus. At least I finished the first part of the book which broken up into three parts. It was becoming to much of a chore so it's abandoned. Maybe I'll check one of his newer books; you can see why this was publicized debut but then again, there j ...more
another classic, I think, that explains and explores contemporary life in Reykjavik.
Uggghhhh. I hated this book. Way too much inner dialogue.
Lucie Meisnerova
Would like to see the movie.
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Hallgrímur Helgason is an Icelandic author, painter, translator, cartoonist and essayist. He has studied at the School of Visual Arts and Crafts in Reykjavík and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.

His most famous works are 101 Reykjavík, which was made into a popular film, and Höfundur Íslands (Iceland's Author), which won the Icelandic Literary Prize in 2001. He was nominated for the prize again
More about Hallgrímur Helgason...
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“- So, what do you do?
- Nothing.
- What kind of nothing?
- The nothing kind of nothing.”
“Цветов не надо. Но сам я умираю, как цветок. Роняю голову на грудь. Очки сползают. Я поправляю их тыльной стороной руки. Вот и все. Больше не помню.
Я уже мертв.
Пьян мертвецки... Краткий курс ознакомления с настоящей смертью. Учения. Я на минутку отлучаюсь. Прилепляю на себя табличку: «Ушел. Вернусь в час ночи. ХБХ». Вот так. Оставляю себя на обочине, как автомобиль с работающим двигателем. Из выхлопной трубы валит дым, на приборной доске свет, печка включена. Но за рулем никого нет. Мозг думает сам по себе, как включенный мотор. Интересно, что он там такое думает. Что он замышляет без меня. Скорее всего, он проводит простые спасательные операции: отгоняет хмель и спасает извилины, чтоб они не утонули.

Если тело — прогретая машина, поставленная на скорость, на ручном тормозе, то я — душа, лечу по своим делам по городу. И над городом. Пока я свободен от тела. Пока... Пока, кровь и кожа! Пока, ногти и нос! Без штанов, без пуповины, без ремня — я ковыляю по космическому коридору во тьме над городом с маленьким блестящим кислородным баллоном за спиной, беззубая душа семенит по теплым китовым спинам уличных фонарей, я кувыркаюсь над Рейкьявиком в замедленной съемке, лежу в безвоздушном пространстве, на якоре, перед колокольней церкви Хатльгрима, радиоканалы чешут мне спину четырьмя разными барабанными ритмами, а телеканалы разрывают меня, разлагают на душеатомы, рассеивают, рассаливают над всем городом. Я — во всех местах одновременно, в малых дозах, и все же весь целиком, как секунды, которые тикают во всех уголках земного шара, а все же принадлежат одному и тому же времени. Я — во мне, и я — во всем, и все — во мне, и я — в часах Адальстейна Гильви Магнуссона, спящего на Западной улице, на ночном столике рядом с университетским справочником. Я — муха между двойными рамами в окне спальни на улице Бергторугата, лежу там на спине, беспомощно перебираю лапками, смотрю, как мама и Лолла болтают под одеялом. И я — ржавчина в водосточной трубе на Лёйгавег, 18, и я взбираюсь по подбородку одинокой женщины в Аурбайре, дремлющей на диване под изображением птичьего хвоста, и я лазаю в бороде своего отца и хватаюсь за волосок, когда он мотает головой, услышав новости но радио в такси на Хетлисхейди, а в крови у него полбара отеля «Ковчег». И я возле Островов Западных Людей, и я — вместе со скомканной бумажкой с канадским номером телефона в правом кармане брюк румынской девушки, которые лежат на полу в Брейдхольте, заношенные и грязные. И я — в кране в темной кухне в Кеплавике, в доме музыканта Рунара Юлиуссона, и я — под сиденьями неосвещенного самолета, который стоит на летном поле в Лейфсстадире, темный и холодный. И я — между краской и стеной, и я — между файлом и экраном, и я — между сросшихся зубов. Я — во мне, и в мене и неме... Я: ja, ja! Я везде и нигде, в одном и во всем, территориальные воды моей души простираются на двести миль от пальцев рук и ног, и простерлись бы дальше... если б я оставался мертвым чуть подольше.”
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