A Happy Little Island

By Lars Sund

Translator: Peter Graves

Format: Multiple Formats

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Vagabond Voices

Founded in 2008 and based in Glasgow, Vagabond Voices is an independent publisher that is both Scottish and fervently European in its aims. Vagabond is committed to introducing new titles from Scottish authors and translating fiction from other languages. Our library reflects our aims to promote literary ambition and innovative writers, and to challenge readers.

Product Description


In the beginning the page was blank and without form, and the scribe sat in front of it, a world forming inside his head. The world grew large, spilling out of him and on to the page. The scribe shaped the world into an island. He named it Fagerö, and populated it with an assortment of likely and plausibly unlikely characters, and saw that it was good for his purposes.

The people of Fagerö were often divided against each other but united in their appreciation of their happy little island. Then the dead bodies began to arrive: hordes of them, washing ashore with no identification and no one to claim them.

The island was changing, and the small-town quirkiness becoming less restrained. And the bodies kept arriving, forcing Fagerö’s inhabitants to confront the unhappy truth that, even on their remote island, the world’s horrors and injustices could not be ignored. This was prescient at the time of writing and is sadly relevant in 2016, the year of this English translation.

A Happy Little Island is an elaborate tale told with style and intelligence. The number and variety of Sund’s Dramatis Personae make Fagerö the perfect stage for an encounter between common humanity and the insularity and fear of change that affect all cultures.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Multiple Formats
Imprint Vagabond Voices
Publication Date 20 Apr 2016
SKU 9781908251657-grouped
Number of Pages 252

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Press Reviews

In A Happy Little Island, Sund entertains readers in the manner we now expect of him. He achieves this through his ability to invent and exaggerate, with a narrative force to match oral storytelling. He relies on his skilled use of language and his high spirits, humour and serious intent … and also his empathy with the beliefs his characters hold.

Despite all the tall tales, black humour and eccentric characters portrayed with gusto, the small society Lars Sund describes with his unfailing sense for language and visual description is wholly credible. The individual characters have their own way of expressing themselves, and the reader can really hear them. Every episode is visualised in the reader’s head like a scene from a film.

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