Woman at 1,000 Degrees


Product Details

$17.99  $16.73
Algonquin Books
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.2 X 1.0 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Hallgrímur Helgason was born in Reykjavík, Iceland, in 1959. He started out as an artist and debuted as a novelist in 1990, gaining international attention with his third novel, 101 Reykjavík, which was translated into fourteen languages and made into a film. He has thrice been nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize, including for his novel Woman at 1,000 Degrees. Also a columnist and a father of three, he now divides his time between Reykjavík and Hrísey Island. His website is HallgrimurHelgason.com.


"Published in 13 languages, this novel about one feisty Icelandic woman's proximity to history's big moments is a thoroughly entertaining ride."

"Incredibly funny, incredibly insightful and incredibly moving."
--Fiona Mozley, author of Elmet

"[Herra's] story, based on true events, is no predictable chronicle of wartime woe . . . the narrator recounts her misshapen life with engaging vividness."
--The New Yorker

"[Herra's] perspective might be just what we need in these uncertain times: She survives and shares her story on her terms. And what a story it is, one worth reading to further understand the complexity of World War II--and to enjoy the quick wit of a woman you won't forget."
--Washington Post

"Compelling . . . Uplifting . . . Required reading for those who want sour along with the sweet in life."
--New York Journal of Books

"This rollicking novel . . . is as delightful as it is dirty."
--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"One of the most original novels of the year."--Irish Independent

"This is a profoundly, triumphantly feminist book . . . There's nothing like it in our language."
--Toronto Star

"Icelandic novelist Helgason shares with John Irving a knack for masterful plotting and clever, sarcastic humor . . . anyone willing to . . . revel in its flights of language will find much to enjoy."

"Helgason's sad and funny novel begins in 2009, as 80-year-old Herra Björnsson lies dying in a Reykjavík garage, still in possession of a live hand grenade from World War II . . . In her unsentimental, unsparing narrative, she offers insights into Icelandic culture and character, including a riff on reticence and a brief summary of Iceland's financial meltdown. Like the Icelandic landscape, she can be both appealing and treacherous."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Herra . . . is exceedingly quick-witted and has a wickedly colorful way with words . . . Brilliantly written with flashing insights."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Long after I read it, the story and its prickly protagonist has stayed with me."
--Esmeralda Santiago, author of When I Was Puerto Rican (via Vulture)

"Helgason's novel is superbly written, with characters and events that grab your attention and make it hard to put down."
--Tulsa Book Review

"Unpredictable and endearing."
--Jacksonville Journal-Courier

--Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

"Woman at 1,000 Degrees is extraordinarily absorbing and enjoyable. The story revolves around a woman who lived ahead of her time. Many young women would idealize Herra Björnsson. At the same time, it gives an insight into life during World War II."
--The Washington Book Review

"A deathbed recollection aglow with vitality, Woman at 1,000 Degrees leads us though the many tumultuous lives of Herra Björnsson, barrelling through historic darkness at a seemingly impossible pitch, one that offers moments of humor amid the sharpest of sorrows and alienation. This novel is a shock, a laugh, an evocation of grief, and a tribute to survival and imagination; Helgason's vivid talents give