A modern Nordic Saga about religious and political fanaticism, about authenticity and deception, conflict and demagogy, love and friendship, a grand tale about our times – told through the ancient Norse God Odin’s reappearance in a contemporary fictitious Scandinavia.
A captivating wonderous and humorous tale, laden with mystery, layers and a deep probing into the nature of human beings, our hangs to unquestionable beliefs as well as into our modern societies and the presently claimed civilization fault lines.
Janne Teller’s debut novel was both critically acclaimed and an instant bestseller, and translated into numerous European languages. Was first published in 1999, but now a quarter century later, the issues the novel concerns itself with couldn’t be more pertinent.
“Odin’s Island is a modern folk tale; one dealing with politics, the media, religion and a war between Denmark and Sweden over an island few people knew existed. The style is timeless, … understanding comes at an almost subliminal level. … Published in Danish in the late 1990’s, Odin’s Island was written before the ‘Cartoon’ riots in Denmark made the news, which makes Teller’s description of a country riven by fundamentalism scarily prescient; not least for showing how quickly a supposedly rational culture can unravel.” – The Daily Telegraph, United Kingdom
“Janne Teller’s novel is beautifully written, finely composed, entertaining and moving, as well as very far reaching. But there are even more reasons to wish that this book would never end. Beneath the firework of wondrous events, fundamental questions are raised: the contrast between authentic faith and cheap spiritualism, between the reason of rationality and the reason of the spirit, between tolerance and fundamentalism, acceptance or exclusion of diversity, between nihilism and hope – wihin a world that doesn’t know where it’s going and perhaps not even where it comes from. All of this in one book? Yes, when this is the book!” – Letture, Italy
“In a truly epic narrative loaded with both humor and mystery, Odin’s adventures take us deep into an imaginary North. … a magnificent story teller… at one and the same time a thriller, a comedy, a political satire, a burlesque reflection on human folly, a story of love and friendship as well as an eccentric tale. In short, a fabulous work of fiction. The almost 500 p. conquer immediately – and seduce forever.” – Le Soir, Belgium
“An explosion of a novel. A critique of civilization, a satire of society, a thriller, a dooms day prophecy, and an unusual love story, all woven into a fabulous mythological tale … A greatly mastered, entertaining and vibrant book.” – Weekendavisen, Denmark
”Janne Teller has with ODIN created a classic literary figure.” – Politiken, Denmark
”A new direction for Danish literature.” – Berlingske Tidende, Denmark
”Thrilling … – To read ODIN’S ISLAND is like stepping into a large space governed by the imagination and where the cold and compelling whisper of the Nordic Gods can be constantly sensed. … You’re fascinated by the book, pour your questions into it and lose yourself to its realm.” – Information, Denmark
”An amazing, mystical and at the same time very real story about the modern Danish society, seen through a fairy tale lens which turns our focus to very new and unusual skies. Simultaneously humorous and satirical as well as so magnificently fantastic that it’s in line with both folktale, mythology, and also Tolkien’ish elements. … A grandiose, comprehensive, colourful and spell-binding tale, a fable, a fairy tale and a very thrilling, entertaining and absolutely wonderful story!” – De Nordjyske Stifstidender, Denmark
“A grand tale of the imagination about our contemporary world.” – Corriere della Sera, Italy
“With her magic tale, Janne Teller crosses paths of no less than Tolkien and Umberto Eco, and is in tune with as great a narrator as Karen Blixen. But Janne Teller has created her very own universe. … ODIN’s ISLAND is a fabulously enjoyable read.” – BT, Denmark
“The novel is relevant at all latitudes as it tells about a society such as our own, with the fanaticism and the extremism, the intolerance and the nationalism that Odin unmasks with both the poetry and the simplicity of ancient wisdom.” – La Repubblica, Italy
“With her first novel the Danish writer Janne Teller …, seems to induce all of us to disclose our deep nature and follow Odino’s destiny in order to answer, with poetry, simplicity and wisdom, to the crises that grieve us.” – L’Osservatore Romano, Italy
“Aided by his two ravens named “Thought” and “Memory” as well as by his poetry of ancient wisdom, Odin ends a war and tells men and women of our time something very important.” – Radio Vaticana, Italy
“With incredible lightness of touch, and using some elements typical only of the traditional folk tales, Janne Teller succeeds in creating a Nordic saga for our times.” TeleRoma, Italy
“An intriguing and amusing, blend of Nordic mythology and poetry, modern love story, biting social satire, political and religious intrigue, and pure fantasy, all woven into an irresistible narrative. In ODIN’S ISLAND Teller proves herself a master of fantasy, adventure, satire, and magic, and of the description and peopling of an imaginary world beyond the quotidian.
“The adventures and misadventures of one ancient, diminutive, one-eyed man, Odin, who happens onto a mystery island – a kind of world out of real place and real time – as a result of a meteor storm which has caused one of his horses, Rigmarole, to break her leg. Odin discovers genuine hospitality in one of the island’s two small villages, Smedieby, but he must move on to find a veterinarian for Rigmarole. After a severe winter snowstorm, Odin wanders on over the solidly frozen strait to The Continent, to Southern Northland. A young woman, Sigbrit Holland, and a fisherman, Ambrosius Fiskeren, collaborate in trying to help Odin find medical assistance for his horse and return to the mystery island, whose location and access to outsiders are matters of mystery, forgotten royal decree, and modern-day intrigue.
“With the arrival of Odin in Southern Northland (clearly Denmark), all hell literally breaks loose, as rival religious fanatics and factions claim him as their own special prophet, seer leader, even as [the Second coming of] Christ, and disputes over possession of both Odin and the island – fairly well hidden behind sheer rock cliffs and precipices in the strait and in forgotten obscure historical records – lead Southern Northland and its neighbour to the north and east, Northern Northland (Sweden) to the brink of war. Tensions build and multiply until Ambrosius and Sigbrit Holland, accompanied by ghostly shadow figures, such as the transparent woman, Brynhild Sigurdskær, the silent omnipresent stranger Der Fremdling, a hermit from Old Northland (Norway), Harald Adelstensfostre, and a former inmate of an insane asylum, Gunnar med Hovedet, manage to turn the tide and …” – World Literature Today, USA
Published in, ia: Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.