Walking into the Night - by Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson

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Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson – Walking into the Night

William Randolph Hearst’s lavish estate, San Simeon, is scrupulously managed by his private butler Christian, who caters to the aging media mogul’s every demand with immeasurable patience. But this quiet butler is in fact a haunted man, consumed by memories of the family he left behind in Iceland, when his name was still Kristján Benediktsson. Through a series of unsent letters, he tries to make amends with the ghosts of his past, explaining to his wife why he chose to walk into the night one evening while the family slept. Kristján, who is based on Hearst’s actual Icelandic butler, is a conflicted character, seeking penance but unable to ask for forgiveness due to the constraints of pride and shame. The past uncoils itself into the present in Ólafur’s flowing style. He escorts us from the oppressive regime of the Hearst household to the isolated townscapes of Iceland, and finally to the glamorous roaring twenties of pre-Depression era New York. 

Read full review on Grapevine.is by Björn Halldórsson

Pages 266. Soft cover.