Monday, June 21, 2010

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir: My Soul to Take

My Soul to Take

My soul to take is the last line of an eighteen's century children's prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the lord my soul to keep;
if I die before I wake,
I pray for God my soul to take.

It reminds me of a German good-night song: Guten Abend gut Nacht.

The first verse of the German song implies that the person singing it will only wake up in the morning, if it's goods will. The English prayer asks for saving the childs soul, if it might die. Both sentiments must be very difficult to understand for a small child, and can be disturbing.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir's crime novel "My soul to take" starts with a young girl, being buried alive in a cave, being told to keep praying until God takes her to her (dead) mother.

Spool forward a few decades, attorney Thóra Gudmundsdóttir is asked by a client to find out about a ghost (a crying child, both been seen and heart) at his new-age resort. A couple of murders later, for which the client is held by the police, it becomes obvious to most people involved, that the ghost issue is not the main problem here. Not so Thóra, who rightfully insists that there must be a connection. After stubbornly proceeding with her unveiling of the resort-turned-ranch's history, much to the dismay of her visiting boyfriend Matthew, she eventually figures out the truth about both the murders and the ghost. Unfortunately not as strong as its predecessor "Last Rituals", Icelandic rural life, WWII antics, and small town animosities make this still an interesting and entertaining novel.

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