All The Horses Of Iceland

Sarah Tolmie Pages:109 Published: 2022

The book: The horses of Iceland are small in stature and roam free across the island nation. Where these horses came from originally, is not clear. Tolmie has created a mystical and magical origin story that revolves around a Norse trader and his travels through central Asia. 

You might like it because: This is a gorgeous imagining of how these wonderful, little Icelandic horses came to be. It’s written in a style which makes you feel as if you are listening to an ancient storyteller recounting a myth.

What did other people say? 
“All the Horses of Iceland is a slim and beautiful chronicle in the tradition of Naomi Mitchison and Ursula K. Le Guin. …The result is a sorcerous journey through hospitality and enchantment.” – The New York Times

“In the sparse but elegant style of ancient fables, Tolmie weaves a saga of whimsy and magic against a lavish historical backdrop. Historical fantasy fans are sure to root for this reluctant hero and his fabulous beasts.” – Publishers Weekly                 

Awards & Recognition:
New York Times Best Fantasy of 2022.

How quickly will you get into the book? The story was interesting to me from the start, but it really pulled me in around page 24. 

You might not like it because: For some readers, the story will progress too slowly. The sparse writing style might not appeal to everyone. 

What might you read next?
You could stick with an equine theme and read Horse by Geraldine Brooks. A story based on a real-life racehorse called Lexington. There are many layers to this story, and it deals with themes of slavery and racism in America.

Or pick another story that begins in Iceland, read The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson. In 1627 pirates raided the coast of Iceland and captured 400 people and sold them into slavery. Magnusson imagines the story of one family who were captured on that raid.

Alternatively, read something written by an Icelandic writer. Pick up Halladór Laxness’s novel, Independent People. Set in the early twentieth century, it’s about an ordinary sheep farmer and his drive to gain his independence. Laxness won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955. 

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