I just finished I Remember You. Let me start by saying I’ve read a few Yrsa Sigurdar∂óttir books. She’s one of the big names in scandicrime literature and her novels about lawyer Thóra are usually interesting and surprisingly entertaining. I picked this book without reading the description (wrong) completely convinced it was the next installment in the series and I promptly forgot about it until it came in the mail. Then, I excitedly started it.
That’s when I realised it’s a horror story, not a mystery book. I used to be more of a fan of horror literature, what I call my Stephen King phase, but it has been ages since I’ve read anything scarier than the standard mystery book. I wasn’t prepared for this one. It’s not gorey or bloody. It’s fear in a shadow and a creak. It creeps up on you while you’re reading and makes you scared to turn off the lights. The characters are her usual decent build-up of half a person: we have a couple more thoroughly built main characters and the others work as stand ins, a mash of features one could find in any other book. We get to know them but they never quite turn out to be interesting. They’re always bland enough to work for the 400 odd pages and then become completely forgettable. The only compelling character is Líf and she becomes so slowly enough that you might not even realise it.
What I really enjoy about YS’s novels is the wondering. There’s usually a couple story lines running at the same time that will become intertwined in some plot-revealing way. My favourite of these are the ones involving the past. Camilla Läckberg is also outstanding at this. This ghost story is no less: the most interesting thing is piecing together the different aspects of the two cases and how they relate to each other. At the end you’re left wondering whether ghosts were ever real or if they were just part of the grieving minds of the different characters in the book. When you experience traumatic events, can this be a way for your mind to deal with the aftermath? Are we all just a few days in an abandoned village away from becoming unhinged?
Overall I really enjoyed it. Not one of her best but a very worthy effort!