Does modern life give us all more or less the same itchiness? The short story collection Kláði (in English, “The Itch”, not translated) by Fríða Ísberg is a beautiful example of the breath of spring that young writers can bring to literature. The narrator considers old subjects with new eyes, and the stories are in many ways different from what they were. Renewals and changes are among the most important conditions of life for literature; sometimes they arise when new people take the stage and look at topics in a different light. The narrative method is both realistic and modernist. The value of the work lies first and foremost in a strong emotional approach, which requires the reader to relate to attitudes and values in the present time.
The short stories in Kláði are broadly about how on earth it is possible to grow up and be reconciled to the fate that awaits modern human beings. The stories deal with about sex and relationships, conflicts between the generations and genders, porn and alienation, stereotypes and the curse of addiction, guilt and oppression, hollow traditions and love that is time-consuming and hard to find, as well as perseverance and a smothering sense of sorrow.
Fríða Ísberg is one ofthe most remarkable writers of a new generation. She has previously published the poetry collections Slitförin (2017) and Leðurjakkaveður (2019). She was nominated for the Icelandic award Fjöruverðlaun for the short story collection Kláði.