Amalia Líndal met her Icelandic husband when they were both students in Boston just after World War II. She came back to Iceland with him in 1949 and raised five children in Kópavogur. In between meals and diaper changes, she wrote – collecting her observations of Icelandic society into this book, and later editing a magazine called 65° Icelandic Life. Her prose is light and readable, her opinions forthright, sincere, and sometimes controversial. Twenty short chapters cover subjects like moving to Iceland, childbirth, home ownership, gender roles, class distinctions, alcohol use, motherhood, sex, religion, and Christmas. Forty-five years later, it is amazing to see both how much Iceland has changed, and how much Líndal’s descriptions still ring true. Líndal’s marriage broke up in 1971, she renounced her American citizenship when the Vietnam War put her sons under threat of the draft, and in 1973 she left Iceland for Canada, where she remarried and passed away in 1989. Get the second (1988) edition of the book, which includes an interesting epilogue.
Available at almost any Icelandic library, or on sale at Reykjavík bookstores for less than 400 ISK.