Hannah Eiríksdóttir has been banished from her home in London to a place of eternal punishment for the wicked. No, not Hell, but close: Iceland. There, she faces a new life working as a journalist for her father's newspaper - a man she barely knows.
Imogen Collins has the perfect life as a social media influencer, showing off her glamorous London existence to adoring fans. But behind the filters lies a dark secret. She thought she'd buried it: But the Beast is back - a ghost from her past who's threatening to ruin her future.
When a man is found murdered at the edge of the road in snowy Iceland the girls' lives collide. Imogen had the motive. Can Hannah find out the truth, and discover the reality of the girl beneath the filters?
Behind perfection often lies unbearable ugliness.
Insider’s look at life in Iceland – is it the feminist utopia we think it is?
If you are unlucky with the weather and you get lost on a glacier, chances are you will never return. These mountains of ice are beautiful to behold, but to the unseasoned traveller they can also be deadly. In Iceland, at the base of one such glacier, an almost monstrous creation of nature more than twice the size of Cornwall, is Höfn, a fishing town I fell in love with a few summers ago.
Every day I would walk along a footpath by the sea and admire the glacier that towered over the landscape on the other side of the fjord. But, the phenomenon that made me smile the most during those walks was man-made. It was a wall one of the locals had built by his house that blocked out the entire view his garden would otherwise had enjoyed. He’d blocked out the glacier. Why would anyone do that? And what does that have to do with feminism?
The protagonist in Sharp Edge of a Snowflake, Hannah Eiríksdóttir, isn’t happy about leaving London to go live in Iceland. When she arrives, she describes the weather as she drives to Reykjavík from the airport: “The wet flakes of snow hit the car window like balls of spit.” That’s the dark side of the island, the one that kills the unprepared tourist on a glacier. The one with the weather that spits in your face.
But Hannah’s luck could be worse. Iceland may not be great for sunbathing, but tops one respectable list after the other as the world’s best place to be a woman, second to none. Hannah may be about to work for a male editor of a newspaper, her father, but my real-life editor at the newspaper I write for is a woman. And so was her predecessor. The prime-
minister is a woman who is raising four young sons. So, what’s it like growing up in an apparent feminist utopia? The answer is a lot like the garden in the little town by the feet of the glacier, with the wall that blocks out the view.
When I lived in Iceland and the northern lights would fill the skies with their streaks of hectic, dancing light, it was almost rare that I would stop and admire them properly. I was so used to them I didn’t even bother looking up. They’d been there forever and I didn’t know life without them. The family who walled their garden in, blocking out their view, was also blocking out other people’s view to their garden. They were so used to the glacier outside the window they valued their privacy more than their view.
That’s what it’s like being a woman in Iceland. We are so used to the rights we have, we sometimes take them for granted. But that is a good thing. In fact, it’s crucial. Iceland is like a boat leading a fleet on its way to a dream destination where men and women are equal. It is ahead of the pack, but the final destination is far beyond the horizon. The #metoo inspired storyline of the other protagonist of The Sharp Edge of the Snowflake, the social media star Imogen Collins, is just as relevant in Iceland as everywhere else. We have made progress in recent years, but the road ahead is still long. At the current rate of travel, we won’t reach our destination in more than one hundred years. That is why even though we have made progress, we must not rest or slow down. Iceland may be the best place to live as a woman, but it is still better to live there if you are a man.