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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


The Creator

Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir

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To purchase The Creator

Title: The Creator
Author: Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir
Genre: Novel
Written: 2008 (Eng. 2012)
Length: 278 pages
Original in: Icelandic
Availability: The Creator - US
The Creator - UK
The Creator - Canada
The Creator - India
Der Schöpfer - Deutschland
Il creatore - Italia
  • Icelandic title: Skaparinn
  • Translated by Sarah Bowen

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Our Assessment:

B : fine story of damaged souls

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Guardian . 13/9/2013 James Smart
NZZ . 28/9/2012 puh.
Die Zeit . 6/10/2011 Ijoma Mangold

  From the Reviews:
  • "The misunderstandings that underpin the plot become stretched, but Mínervudóttir's short, focused novel (her first to be translated into English, by Sarah Bowen) is a gripping, enjoyably offbeat drama." - James Smart, The Guardian

  • "Gudrun Eva Minervudottir (...) hat aus einer ausgefallenen Idee einen unterhaltsamen, turbulenten Roman gemacht, der auch ein wenig traurig ist." - puh., Neue Zürcher Zeitung

  • "Ihr Roman Der Schöpfer ist sehr süffig geschrieben, der Spannungsbogen wird auf jeder Seite gehalten, und man ist sofort mittendrin in einer klaustrophobischen Psychowelt, die von Einsamkeit, Überforderung und Weltflucht erzählt. Der Roman zielt ins Herz einer Gegenwart, in der die Menschen vor lauter Freiheit haltlos werden, weil die Scheu so groß ist, sich auf Bindungen einzulassen." - Ijoma Mangold, Die Zeit

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       The Creator brings together Sveinn, a craftsman living in Akranes, a town about 50 kilometers from Reykjavík, and the single mother of two girls, Lóa, who lives in the Icelandic capital. She gets a flat in front of his house, and winds up drinking too much and sleeping it off at his place. In the morning she discovers what he does -- he makes high-quality, hand-crafted, life-size sex dolls -- and impulsively drags one of the dolls (they weigh about fifty kilos) off before he wakes up.
       Sveinn parlayed his art college graduation project -- a prototype doll -- into a successful career ("Admirable or demeaning, depending on how you looked at it"), but all is not well. He gets anonymous calls from someone who has taken to attacking him (and he then long suspects that Lóa is the mystery-caller), and he also lives a relatively friendless, isolated life, with no one in his life beyond less-than-even-casual acquaintances Kjartan (a customer -- and the one who was supposed to get the missing doll) and Kjartan's friend, Lárus.
       All is not well with Lóa, either, and not just because she buried her father a week earlier. She also explains to Sveinn: "Both my daughters have lost their grip, although they’ve barely started out on life". Ína is seven, and a bit of a handful, but it's older daughter Margrét, the fifteen-year-old anorexic -- all skin and bones, "like a chick just hatched from an egg" -- that really worries her. In her desperation, she figures the doll might be some sort of useful companion figure for the girl who is wasting away.
       In neat symmetry, it is Margrét who then goes missing -- and Sveinn who shows up at Lóa's house, to reclaim his doll.
       The chapters in The Creator alternate between focusing on Sveinn's perspective, and on Lóa's, with some overlap, repeating several scenes and showing how each (mis)understands events as they unfold -- a fairly effective technique (that Guðrún fortunately does not over-use).
       This is a novel of damaged souls, from the completely broken Margrét, to flailing Sveinn and Lóa. Accidents -- Lóa's flat tire and then Sveinn's tumble while changing a lightbulb, leaving him with a broken collarbone -- force a bit of contact with outsiders, while their excesses -- alcohol and painkillers, respectively -- are excuses for them to crash at (each) others' houses. Mutual suspicion keeps them at some distance, but eventually everything gets cleared up, with both doll and daughter reunited with their creators.
       It's not really a happy ending -- these souls are too damaged for there to be any sort of quick fix -- but they're all a bit clearer as to where exactly they stand and what the future might hold (including Sveinn recognizing that maybe it's time to move beyond doll-making).
       The Creator doesn't overdo it with its quirky elements, remaining surprisingly grounded for a novel in which silicone dolls play such a prominent role -- yes, there is a sex scene, but even that is effectively understated. The story is quite well told and presented -- fairly simple, it has both charm and packs a decent emotional punch. Quite well done.

- M.A.Orthofer, 20 November 2013

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The Creator: Reviews: Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir is an Icelandic author.

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© 2013 the complete review

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