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Karitas Untitled

Karitas Untitled
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Amazon/Brilliance Publishing

Limited ***

6.5 X 5.5 in

FICTION / Historical / General
FICTION / Cultural Heritage
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A portrait of an artist trapped by convention and expectations but longing for the chaos that can set her free.

Growing up on a farm in early twentieth-century rural Iceland, Karitas Jónsdóttir, one of six siblings, yearns for a new life. An artist, Karitas has a powerful calling and is determined to never let go of her true being, one unsuited for the conventional. But she is powerless against the fateful turns of real life and all its expectations of women. Pulled back time and again by design and by chance to the Icelandic countryside—as dutiful daughter, loving mother, and fisherman’s wife—she struggles to thrive, to be what she was meant to be.

Spanning decades and set against a breathtaking historical canvas, Karitas Untitled, an award-winning classic of Icelandic literature, is a complex and immersive portrait of an artist’s conflict with love, family, nature, and a country unaccustomed to an untraditional woman—but most of all, with herself and the creative instincts she has no choice but to follow.


“The true heart of the book belongs not to its eponymous heroine but the strong-willed women of Iceland generally. Life here is hard, death swift and ubiquitous. Through every loss and setback, the brutal winters, the months the men spend at sea with the fishing fleet, the women endure…A convincing portrayal of the lives of Icelandic women during an important period in the country’s history.” Kirkus Reviews

Karitas Untitled is a newly translated Icelandic novel peopled with unique, quirky, and well-defined characters. With the talent of a true artist, the author paints stunning descriptions…this is a rich novel that readers who enjoy international literature will appreciate.” Historical Novels Review

Karitas Untitled is a sweeping tale as majestic and often as bleak and brutal as the Icelandic landscape and the seas that wash its shores. What really shines through is the faith Karitas and the women around her have in themselves and each other. Baldursdóttir has made a wonderful contribution to bringing Nordic literature to a wider audience.” —Authorlink

“Although set in the twentieth century, Karitas’s story speaks to the trials of a modern woman as well—how to balance childcare and art, how to care for a home while your husband is absent, how to love a man who is bad for you but who says all the right things. No matter what time we live in, love and relationships and our calling in life are difficult, and her story reflects that of all women, past and present, Icelandic and beyond. It also reflects the female experience of bonding with other women in times of trouble to make it all work out, even if it means taking the long way around.” San Francisco Book Review

“Kristín Marja’s novel isn’t just a well-written story about the life of a female artist in the last century—it relates to today. Karitas Untitled is the story of a woman trapped in a tangible tug-of-war. And it’s powerfully told.” —Melkorka Óskarsdóttir, Fréttablaðið newspaper, Iceland

“Karitas’s story is graced with precisely all the qualities you would expect to find in a great, award-winning book.” Kristianstadsbladet newspaper, Sweden

“A wonderful story that, like any great novel, grabs you for the duration of the story and then follows you long after the book, sadly, is over.” —Kathrine Lilleør, Berlingske newspaper, Denmark

“Let it be said at once: Baldursdóttir’s novel about the fate of women at the beginning of the twentieth century is magnificent. One laps up the story as if it were the milk that is fundamental for survival in remote Iceland…Like the fat Icelandic herring that are salted into barrels, so the history of Icelandic women is set in layers—remembered, retold, sketched, and written by a dedicated descendant.” —Tine Maria Winther, Politiken newspaper, Denmark

“Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir’s novel Karitas Untitled is not just the poignant story of a young woman but also a portrait of that transitional period in Icelandic history that led to modernization.” —Fríða Björk Ingvarsdóttir, Morgunblaðið newspaper, Iceland

“A Brontë-ish saga about one family’s struggle against poverty, nature, and conventions.” —Lilja Sigurðardóttir, author of the award-winning Reykjavik Noir Trilogy

Author Bio

Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir is an Icelandic writer born on 21 January 1949 in Hafnarfjörður.