Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Pets” as Want to Read:
The Pets
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Pets

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  225 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Back in Reykjavik after a vacation in London, Emil Halldorsson is waiting for a call from a beautiful girl, Greta, that he met on the plane ride home, and he’s just put on a pot of coffee when an unexpected visitor knocks on the door. Peeking through a window, Emil spies an erstwhile friend—Havard Knutsson, his one-time roommate and current resident of a Swedish mental ins ...more
ebook, 157 pages
Published November 3rd 2010 by Open Letter (first published January 1st 2001)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Pets, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Pets

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 574)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
wheres my denoument?? i am too unsophisticated to enjoy books that just... end. until the end (and im not spoiling anything because everyone else has commented on the lack of resolution, so s'okay)but until the end i was really enjoying the way the narrative was unspooling, and i was engaged in reading to find out what was going to happen to this poor man. i guess i am not bjork enough for this. fact.
(Review originally published in The L Magazine:

The Swedish Academy’s Horace Engdahl recently asserted that "The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature…” The statement may have ruffled those hoping to see Roth or DeLillo finally honored, but Engdahl makes a valid point. Out of the 290,000 books published in the U.S. last year, only about 350 were new works in translation. (This is, of course, a loose estimate—n
I have found he perfect book. Not only does it not end just like I asked but it is constantly entertaining, and it implies sexual acts. Yes, yes, I know, but I swear it does. everyone in the book is completely insane. Since when is it reasonable to climb through a window? no never I don't care if there is a coffee pot on the burner, in fact why is there a coffee pot on the burner in the first place.

I learned a lot from this book. Do not put the glasses of the guy next to you on a plane in your
si filman la pelicula de las mascotas, el protagonista no puede ser otro que gaston pauls
I'm not quite sure what to think of this book. I've had no exposure to Icelandic literature or humor, but I didn't find any of it confusing. The Pets is about a man (Emil) that comes home from a trip, and when an old friend of his that had been in a mental institution knocks on his door, he hides under the bed. The other man climbs through the window, and then over the course of a few hours, more people show up and they have a party, all while Emil is hiding under the bed. The other characters a ...more
The Pets by Bragi Ólafsson (in a translation by Janice Balfour) is a surprising, funny ultimately deeply disconcerting little book. It is not surprising that the former bassist of The Sugarcubes would make his main character a music lover and reference bits of music and bands though out his novel what is surprising is that he would also create such a darkly comic and anxiety-driven story.

Emil Haldorsson is returning from London after having won the lottery and gone on a musical shopping spree. O
hey, did you know an ex-sugarcube, of the great band sugarcubes, wrote this book? i didn't know this until i finished this book. i actually picked this book up on a whim when i had to stay overnight at the travelodge due to snowy weather... i have to read before i go to bed, and the night at the travelodge was an unexpected stop. i picked up this book because i liked the cover and because to the best of my knowledge, i've never read an icelandic author before. this might not be true. but, wow, h ...more
Gemma Alexander
I have to say, I’m not sure what to make of it.
At least superficially, the book has a lot in common with Sjón’s The Whispering Muse. Both are short, lean novels that say less than they mean. Both books lean heavily on classical literature: the Whispering Muse is in a sense a post-script to the Odyssey, and the Pets is littered with references to Moby Dick. A first edition of that book and a model of the whaler Essex are the stolen items, and the ostensible reason for Havard’s return. The dead pe
Jan 27, 2009 Jennifer rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People looking for something really different
This was one of the strangest books I've ever read. I saw it at the library and thought, "I've never read an Icelandic book." The situation in the book gets more and more bizarre as it goes on. If you are looking for a traditional novel, this is not it. That said, it kept me reading til the end to find out what would happen. I'll not spoil it for the few people who will read this book by telling what does happen.
Lo compré por la tapa hermosa y el exotismo. Me sorprendió que en la hermana Islandia también los personajes se vean envueltos en las cosas por la fuerza de los acontecimientos y terminen en situaciones imposibles sin casi extrañarse. No podía faltar la mención a la Argentina, que aparece nada menos que a través de Carlos Saúl.
At first Ólafsson's Gæludýrin struck me as loquacious to an extraneous extent. The longueur of having to listen to the many meanderings of the protagonist's mind and to endure the many meanderings of another character, a mysterious and slightly unhinged person, through Reykjavík, is very trying yet strangely engaging. One feels like being part of a Q-A session with a respected director given to eloquent but pointlessly intricate ramblings; it is impossible for one not to try to listen as attenti ...more
William Herschel
This book is such a tease. You know the premise, you read it on the back cover. There's a lot of build-up to it, though, which one thinks might have been disposed of all-together. And then... and then there is never any release. It just ends. Dot.

In case you haven't read the back cover yet, poor Emil is hiding under his bed after a trip to London because some lunatic he used to know has broken in through the window. The longer he remains under the bed, however, the more impossible it is to revea
the pets is a sort of screwball comedy that consistently keeps you on edge because of the volatility that olafsson imbues his characters with. its a book about a man who, upon returning from vacation, is shocked to find an old friend (one that he doesnt want to see) visits him. our protagonist hides from this visitor, who enters his house through the window with the pretense of waiting. The house slowly amasses guests while our protagonist hides under his own bed. the premise is that of a wacky ...more
I read about this book on a book blog (Nancy Pearl?) and was able to order it through our wonderful library system from who knows what far-flung library. I'd forgotten about it by the time it arrived and yet have been engrossed in reading it ever since. I've not read Icelandic fiction before so I cannot speak in those terms but Olafsson has such a unique voice and style of drawing you into the character's lives through the smallest details (like a pair of glasses - if you read it, you'll see wha ...more
Axie Barclay
This was a very well-written, brisk, odd book. A man, Emil, sits next to a linguistics professor on a plane an tries to escape having to chat with him, while flirting with a pretty girl who's seated nearby. When Emil returns home, he realizes he's in possession of the linguistics professor's eyeglasses. Emil has just enough time to call the man when an intruder, who Emil recognizes as an old friend, breaks into his house. He hides under his bed in desperate attempt to avoid the friend, who start ...more
Julio César
Bien, está muy bien. Construya una semi comedia de enredos pero seteada en la fría Estocolmo. Los personajes son pocos pero bien delineados, ni caricaturescos ni superficiales. La relación del protagonista con la música se beneficia de que el escritor es, de hecho, un músico. No hay alarde ni derroche de conocimiento, por suerte. Las tres partes están bien definidas y el final es sorpresivo.
after: This is a quick, fun little book. The main character spends more than half the book hiding under his bed, as several people he knows (who don't know each other) come over and try to figure out where he's gone and why he's not at home. Bragi Ólafsson has a very engaging writing style, which makes this a very enjoyable evening spent with some interesting people. The whole thing works because it's suffused with the tension of how and when he will come out from under the bed and confront/reve ...more
Emil comes home from a trip abroad to find an old acquaintance on his doorstep. In order to avoid Havard he takes refuge under his bed, and is forced to stay there even after Havard breaks in and begins to entertain his friends who have stopped by to welcome him back.

I feel bad saying this about a book that was only about 160 pages, but I really don’t think we needed the first 60. All it did was establish Armann Valur and why he later came to Emil’s house, and the bit about Hinrik which went abs
The Pets by Bragi Ólafsson, translated from the Icelandic by Janice Balfour.

Emil, a 30-something native of Reykjavík, finds himself in a most bizarre situation. A former acquaintance with an apparent psychiatric illness, Harvard, pays a visit to Emil after a five-year hiatus. Emil hides to avoid contact with Harvard, and during this multi-hour hideout, several of Emil's friends visit. It is through the dialogue between Harvard and Emil's friends (as well as Emil's internal dialogue) that the rea
The ending (or non-ending?) made me feel like the author wrote himself into a bit of a corner, so he just took off running away from the whole book. But: everything up til then was so good that it doesn't really matter.
I gave up 1/4 of the way into the book. The author meanders, and in a bad way. I had no confidence that he either knew where he was going or that he would take me anywhere very interesting. He just tiptoed from one slightly-quirky but ho-hum narrative puddle to the next. And when he would, occasionally, get you mildly interested in something, he would then immediately veer off to focus on an unrelated subject. Maddening! I felt no connection to the characters and no interest in the prose style. ...more
As a souvenir from Iceland, I bought this small, rather expensive book on the airport on the way back. And what a choice, as it starts when someone returns from holiday, gets home, and faces an uninvited visitor.

Although most part of the book is a nice read, the author builds up tension and then cuts it by starting a side story which you'd rather want to skip. That's the biggest problem with it: there's isn't a lot of tension relief. And it really takes half of the book before it starts getting
Sort of like a literary sitcom, The Pets puts the narrator in an awkward situation that keeps getting more awkward. And it's a pretty interesting study in perspective.

I finished the book rather quickly, so even though I wouldn't call it great, it's amusing and worth the read. How often do you get to read Icelandic literature, anyways?
An odd Icelandic story about a man hiding under a bed in his own apartment throughtout an evening in which his friends have a party without him. It is a quick read....mildly engaging with a disappointing ending. The characters are interesting and the plot is clever, yet pverall the story falls short somehow. Oh well......
Maja Lange
I was halfway through the book before the plot began to engage me somewhat... and then, soon after I'd found myself actually wanting to see how it would all turn out, the book ended. Zap, just like that. No ends tied, no satisfaction, no closure. Very disappointing.
Very fun book about what havoc an uninvited guest could potentially wreck... somehow reminds me of the daydreams wee have in our youth of what truly goes on when we are not there amongst our friends and aquaintances... how do they view us - indeed!
This was my first Icelandic read and I was riveted from the start. The end was a surprise -- and I found the narrative to be terrific. It was a new style of writing for me, but thoroughly enjoyable. I look for more by this author!
Kira Henehan
I totally enjoyed it despite the frustrating premise. My only complaint would be that it ended very abruptly, and really, when you think about it, that's more of a compliment than anything as I would've happily read on.
I can hardly stand this book. I don't know why I am reading it. Well, I guess it is because I have it and it gets good reviews but it is driving me crazy. I hate it.

I stopped reading it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 19 20 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Angels of the Universe
  • Children in Reindeer Woods
  • The Conqueror
  • Lovestar
  • Under the Glacier
  • The Blue Fox
  • The Greenhouse
  • The Swan
  • The Journey Home
  • Himnaríki og helvíti
  • Season of the Witch (Einar, #4)
  • The True Deceiver
  • 101 Reykjavik
  • The Old Man and His Sons
  • Svar við bréfi Helgu
  • On the Cold Coasts
  • Karaoke Culture
  • The Canvas
Bragi studied Spanish at the University of Iceland and the University of Granada. He has had a number of different jobs in Reykjavík, at the post office, in a bank and in a record store. He was also a member of the Sugarcubes, and toured with them in Europe and America.
Bragi's first published work, the poetry collection Dragsúgur (Draught), appeared in 1986. Since then, he has published other book
More about Bragi Ólafsson...
The Ambassador Samkvæmisleikir Hvíldardagar Fjarveran Handritið að kvikmynd Arnar Featherby og Jóns Magnússonar um uppnámið á veitingahúsinu eftir Jenný Alexson

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »