Until now, my only exposure to Icelandic literature was through the wonderful Njal's Saga and Egil's Saga which I remember as being great stories, but my heavily annotated copies bear witness to the fact that as a student it was for their legal content rather than their literary value that I was reading them.
No need nowadays to examine procedure in the Althing or analyse concepts of honour, reparation and the like, but the subject of vengeance - common in the sagas - is relevant to The Blue Fox by Sjon as that is an important theme.
This is a curious little book, a fable that is short and spare and yet one whose brevity seems to be the key to opening the reader's imagination and to entering a world that is part real and part magical. Set in January 1883, it follows the Reverend Baldur as he sets out to hunt the blue fox who would "write the tale of her travels" on the virgin snow, and be "his letter of commission, setting him a task to perform in the material world". That line is crucial in the light of what is to come, but suffice to say that the reverend's fate is bound up with that of the herbalist Fridrik and Abba, his charge.
This is not an easy book to summarise, its narrative interrupted at intervals with tiny set-piece scenes (I loved the tea-drinking one) all of which relate at one level or another to the fox and her hunter. If you're familiar with the Norse sagas and legends you'll recognise its debt to them; if not, read it as a story whose apparent simplicity hides its depths.