2012 Thriller

I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

I Remember You Translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton

Five words from the blurb: Iceland, isolated, suicide, vanished, terrifying

Iceland is very suited to scary stories – the isolation, the dark days, and the snowy weather all combine to produce a chilling atmosphere. I planned to read this book in Iceland, but after reading the quotes on the cover about it being “seriously scary” and “not to be read alone”, I decided to read it before I went. I’m really pleased that I decided not to read it in an isolated Icelandic cottage, but part of me wishes I’d read it after I’d come back!

This book is very creepy. It begins with a group of three friends heading to an isolated village in order to renovate an old cottage. They soon realise that they are not alone and whatever is out there doesn’t want them to stay. This narrative alternates with one in which a doctor, whose six-year-old son recently disappeared, investigates the suicide of an old woman. The two stories eventually combine to become a very cleverly plotted thriller.

I almost abandoned this book after about 50 pages as I found it too scary. I don’t normally read horror and some scenes in this book really spooked me. Luckily the plot was intriguing so I stuck with it, reading only short sections so the atmosphere didn’t become overwhelming. I also admit to skimming over some of the more disturbing scenes in an effort to keep the worst images out of my mind altogether. 

The author did a fantastic job building the tension. Even the most mundane scenes could become scary at a moment’s notice:

It was then that Putti stopped abruptly and started growling again. Although Katrín couldn’t work out how it was different from the previous growl, it was, seemingly loaded with gravity and fear, as if the dog sensed something threatening it. Or them.

As the book progressed I became less fearful of the story. This was mainly because I realised it was a ghost story. The supernatural element was good in that it allowed anything to happen, but it also didn’t scare me as much as strange people lurking in the dark.

The only problem with the writing was that the characters all sounded the same. They had a few interesting flaws, but this wasn’t enough to make them into well-rounded individuals. The benefit of this was that I didn’t care if/when they died!

Overall this was a compelling chiller-thriller with all the elements needed to keep you awake at night. Recommended to anyone who likes to be scared.


11 replies on “I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurdardottir”

I read one of her books that was a part of a series, and I have to admit, I hated it. The setting and circumstances were really creepy (Iceland is great for that) but the protagonist was just bumbling and dumb. There was no way she could figure out a complicated mystery, but alas! She kept stumbling into the answers. And there were 2 million red herrings. It really got on my nerves. Would I enjoy one of her books that was a stand-alone? Maybe.

Sandy, It sounds as though you might get annoyed by this book too! Some of the protagnists were a bit stupid and there were a few red herrings in there as well. You might be better off avoiding it!

I tried this one, because I hadn’t got on with the first book in her series and because so many people seemed to rate her books that I felt I owed her another chance. I gave up after around fifty pages, but knowing you made it all the way through might inspire me to try again, if the mood for this sort of book strikes.

Fleur, The tone doesn’t really change through the book so if you didn’t enjoy it after 50 pages I think you’re unlikely to enjoy the rest. Sounds as though she just isn’t for you 🙂

Sounds…. creepy! I read another book by this writer recently, and I didn’t find it too creepy at all. But it was a good story, too – My Soul to Take.

So, if you’re not one for creepy, then you should really try that one. I’ll keep this one in mind, for a bright summer’s day (rather than a dark winter’s evening).

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