Gunnar Kampen grew up in Reykjavik during the Second World War in a household strongly opposed to Hitler and his views. Doted on by his mother and two older sisters and with a degree from a business college, he is well set in life. And yet, in the spring of 1958, he founds an antisemitic nationalist party and sets about enthusiastically supporting an ever-growing international network of Neo-Nazis – a cause he continues to struggle for and that takes him on a clandestine mission to England, despite being terminally ill. Based on one of the ringleaders of a little-known Neo-Nazi group that operated in Reykjavik in the late ’50s and early ’60s, this taut and potent novel explores what shapes a young man and the enduring allure of Nazi ideology.
‘A book like a blade of light, searching out and illuminating the darkest corners of history . . . It’s vivid, unputdownable, alive, and written with unerring artfulness and subtlety.’ Neel Mukherjee
Gunnar Kampen grows up in Iceland during the Second World War in a household fiercely opposed to Hitler and Nazism. At nineteen he seems set for a conventional, dutiful life. And yet in the spring of 1958, he founds a covert, anti-Semitic nationalist party, a cause that will take him on a clandestine mission to England from which he never returns.
Inspired by one of the ringleaders of a little-known neo-Nazi group that was formed in Iceland in the 1950s, SjÃ³n’s portrait of an ardent fascist is as thought-provoking as it is disturbing. As this taut and fascinating novel suggests, the seeds of extremism can be hard to detect – and the ideology of the far-right remains dangerously potent.