The Mark - Fríða Ísberg

The Mark

By: Fríða Ísberg, Larissa Kyzer (Translator)

eBook | 30 April 2024

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In the near future, in Reykavik, in a world like our own, society is divided about the controversial Empathy Test, which measures an individual's capacity for compassion and identifies anti-social behaviour in citizens. Two thirds of the country, including public servants and politicians, have undergone the test, and 'marked' themselves in an official register, open to the public. One third remains 'unmarked' and more and more private and public spaces are closing their doors to them. In two months' time, citizens face a national referendum, in which they will vote on whether the test should be mandatory or not.

Amid the rising tension and via the voices of four compelling characters—the sceptical teacher Vetur, the influential psychologist Oli, the businesswoman Eyja, who fails the test, and the school dropout Tristan, who is fighting for the right not to be tested—we are confronted with urgent ethical dilemmas, prejudice, injustice, and private trauma. The suspense intensifies as these four individuals try to navigate a brave new world. The rules of the game have changed. What are the consequences?

For fans of Black Mirror, or readers of the novels of Jennifer Egan and Naomi Alderman, The Mark is a brilliant, topical novel by an exciting new writer. Friða Isberg's book asks: do we want to live in a world defined by our faith in each other, or by our fear of the future.

Friða Isberg is an Icelandic author based in Reykjavik. She has written the poetry collections Stretch Marks and Leather Jacket Weather, the short story collection Itch and the novel The Mark, which won the Fjara Literature Prize, the Icelandic Booksellers Award, and the P.O. Enquist Award. She was the 2021 recipient of the Optimist Award, given by the President of Iceland to one national artist. Friða is a member of the writers' collective Svikaskald and an occasional contributor to The Times Literary Supplement. Her work has been or is to be translated into nineteen languages.
fridaisberg.com

Larissa Kyzer is an Icelandic to English literary translator, writer, and editorial professional. Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, she lived in Reykjavik for five years after receiving a Fulbright grant. Her translations include children's books, short stories, poetry, essays, plays, nonfiction, and novels, most notably Kristin Eiriksdottir's Nordic Council Literature Prize-nominated A Fist or a Heart, for which she was awarded the American-Scandinavian Foundation's Nadia Christensen Translation Prize.

'One thinks of Aldous Huxley throughout this lively, breathless and very contemporary text where political correctness has become the guarantee of the best of all possible worlds.' Le Monde

'Friða does not only address existential questions on power and morality with intuition and wisdom but also tackles language and style with great and captivating vigour. Each persona has its own life experience and a stance which surfaces calculated and elaborated in idiom and choice of words. [...] It's been a long time since I've read anything so remarkable. Phenomenal and powerful fiction.' Skald

'The Mark is a brilliantly intelligent and entertaining novel and a real page-turner.' Sydsvenskan

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