Ármann Reynisson continues to represent life as we see it on a day-to-day basis and in the widest meaning of the word. As before, variety is the main thing. There is an emphasis on contemporary parables with a biblical air and, in this instance, a number of accounts of unusual events that took place in some of the country’s churches. Vignettes V is a colourful book, a series of images and, like the author’s previous volumes, will come as a surprise to the reader. The first four volumes have been well received in Iceland and provided food for thought and reflection. The author believes, with some justification, that they work best when read out loud.
Come unto me…
A shabby man with stooping shoulders regularly approaches God’s house late in the evenings carrying a bag on his back. He limps up the church steps, lays himself down across the threshold and curls up, pressing his body against the foot of the door. He buries his face in one corner, putting both hands under his head. There the vagrant lies like a babe in his mother’s arms whatever the weather. It is his nightly abode. No one knows what the man thinks or dreams, nor do they know the reason for his fate or his choice of resting place. Early in the morning the beggar staggers to his feet and disappears into the crowd.
The children rebel
With time malcontent increases in the free state coinciding with a deterioration in the children’s school reports. The children become difficult both at home and away, and are finally lost amidst the fantasy of a dream school. The situation becomes uncontrollable: their school work is consumed by the turmoil, parents are resigned to live in chaos. A community meeting is held to discuss the problem and the conservative faction is publicly criticised. There are demands for an immediate amalgamation with neighbouring communities. After the meeting the free state is assimilated into the rest of the system.
An old rally driver asks his girlfriend out for a drive. Trouble is, she’s completely uninterested in the sport. She hoists herself into the jeep, which is equipped with gigantic tyres, sits down in the passenger seat and secures her seatbelt. The drive takes them to the sand dunes along riverbanks and the couple enjoy watching the torrid water current in the dusk. The young woman is quiet, listening to the endless exploits of the driver who talks incessantly. After a long time she begins to tire of him going on and on. The driver seems to sense her state of mind and says instinctively: “Here this will cheer you, darling„.
Exploitation needs to come to an end, and instead an attempt should be made to repair what has been taken from nature for those who will inherit the earth. Is this ever going to be possible? Somewhere in this paradise a homemade canon lies concealed, loaded and ready.
Victorious, the husband now feels as if he has superhuman strength for a while. His jubilant wife is dazed by her hero. His sexual attractiveness appears to have increased beyond recognition. They are insatiable until morning.
The jolly widow
A woman loses her husband after a comfortable but monotonous marriage. She has been tied to the home cooking and acting the hostess while her husband has bustled around in politics and current affairs. Her children have imposed upon her, constantly demanding that she baby-sit. She is given little time for enjoyment not even for dancing, which she longs to do.
The wild widow
Finally, the wild widow, as she is known, catches the world’s attention, something she has long desired. She is bitten on the neck by her favourite rogue and bleeds to death in her bed.
The graduation party
Identical twins can be so alike that it is difficult to tell them apart, even for their closest friends and wives. This is the case with two brothers who decided to get an education and satisfy their parents’ ambitions. They do well in a distinguished high school, getting good grades and participating in social activities. When the opportunity arises, they use deception without anyone suspecting them, and this becomes especially advantageous regarding girls. When sitting oral exams, they decide to divide the work between themselves and pose as each other to get the highest results. This continues through the years and they are admired for their diligence, and are popular with both teachers and pupils alike.
A fit of rage
The director falls ill and has to step down, but forces his son the take over. On the first day, weighed down by all his responsibilities, it is as if a dark cloud descends on his mind and will not budge. The desperately confused man takes the shotguns he and his father own, loads them, and stomps around on the marble floor, not knowing what to do. On the walls there are sparkling glass shelves stacked with a beautiful display of gleaming wares, reflecting the colours of the rainbow. Everything becomes a blur and he starts to manically shoot from both guns in all directions, from one display room to another. The stock explodes into a million shards, popping and shattering, and then crashing across the floor like a mountain river. When all the shots have been fired the man lies down on the floor on top of the broken glass and swims through the clear water to freedom. Then he joins the local authorities’ garbage disposal force.