Kristín Eiríksdóttir

Kristín Eiríksdóttir

Kristín Eiríksdóttir 

Photo Credit: Sigtryggur Ari Jóhannsson
Kristín Eiríksdóttir: Tól. Novel, Forlagið, 2022. Nominated for the 2024 Nordic Council Literature Prize.



Fiction is more authentic than the truth 


The novel presents four main characters of varying significance. The narrator in the first story is the filmmaker Villa, who speaks in the first person and thus assumes the author’s perspective at the beginning, even though she doesn’t share anything with the actual author of the book. Villa tells Dimitri’s or Dimmi’s story, mostly concurrently with her own. Other stories are written by a third person who knows the characters of the novel and often brings the narrative around to Dimitri’s/Dimmi’s story, Villa’s friend Ninja’s story, as well as the story of Jón Logi, who is the father of Villa’s child. 


The four main narratives of the novel are linked together through Dimitri/Dimmi. The narrative is used as a tool or instrument to alternately create and deconstruct a truth. Life has treated Dimitri/Dimmi harshly, and the reader gradually learns that his track record isn’t very pretty. Both Jón Logi and Ninja are aware of it, while Villa, who’s working on a documentary about Dimitri/Dimmi, tries to break down their narratives and create an alternative version that’s both more beautiful and better – a story she perceives as true, but others find unbelievable. Ninja works with her on the project, and they clash because of it. Villa wants her fiction to be authentic. That’s how she understands her subject, because she has a different perspective than the others. 


Villa and Dimitri/Dimmi meet each other in their teenage years, when they were of course different from what they have become at the time when the story takes place. Villa has a son whom she doesn’t want to betray, but it invariably happens to a large extent. In certain ways, it seems that with this film, she wants to defend both her own and Dimitri’s/Dimmi’s childhood and their childhood innocence. At the beginning of the story, Dimitri/Dimmi has become a whale hunter and drug dealer, and both struggle with an addiction that’s transformed them and stripped away the personality that Villa once perceived as their own and “authentic” in its own way. 


The novel begins with Villa attending a film conference in Sweden to discuss her film, and there’s a clash between fiction and information, a clash that marks the beginning of the novel Tól (in English: “Tools”). It gradually becomes clear that all the main characters’ stories are about the struggle to keep their lives within a linear narrative that society approves of. However, this linear narrative is no more “authentic” than Villa’s emotionally related narrative, which Kristín Eiríksdóttir has composed and connected with the stories of Jón Logi and Ninja. Where does the idea that life should be logical and linear come from?  


Tól by Kristín Eiríksdóttir is an elegantly intertwined narrative that delves deeply into its analyses of unfolding lives. At the same time, the novel challenges conventional ideas about political correctness, fiction, and freedom of speech. 


The novel Tól was released in 2022 and was nominated for the Fjöruverðlaunin Prize and the Icelandic Literature Prize in 2023.