Time for another round of Yvonne’s Shorties! This time around a double dose of translations with a Danish survival memoir and a German thriller.


Title: Against The Ice
Author: Ejnar Mikkelsen

Translator: Maurice Michael
Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir
First published: 1955
Publisher: Steerforth
Finished reading: August 30th 2022
Pages: 224
(Originally written in Danish: ‘Farlig tomandsfærd’)

“All of us who had gone up there were silly, both men and dogs.”


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I actually watched the Netflix adaptation of Against The Ice a while back, and it inspired me to look up this memoir. I do love a good survival story set in an unforgiving environment, and it doesn’t get much more hostile than Greenland… And even more so when it takes place in the 1910s with even less comfort and technology on offer. Against The Ice turned out to be a very interesting survival memoir and I liked the way Mikkelsen wrote down his account of what happened during that taxing time. It’s quite a harrowing read with lots of difficulties to overcome, and a warning is in place for animals suffering as well as animal death. The humans are not doing all that well either of course, but I could appreciate the moments of hope that were woven into the account. The final part set in the hut was probably the most intriguing part of it all; the same was the case with the movie adaptation for me. I liked the casting for that adaptation, and I think it does the memoir justice. If you like this type of stories, I can definitely recommend both!


Title: Seat 7A
Author: Sebastian Fitzek
Translator: Steve Anderson

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 25th 2017
Publisher: Head Of Zeus
Finished reading: August 31st 2022
Pages: 384
(Originally written in German: ‘Flugangst 7A’)

“Fear, as Mats liked to tell his patients, was like a boa constrictor you keep as a pet. You think you’ve tamed the wild animal and happily place it round your neck. But every so often, without warning, the snake suddenly tightens.”


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I really enjoyed my first experience with his work reading The Child two years ago, and I’ve been meaning to try more of his books ever since. There was something about the blurb of Seat 7A that caught my attention immediately; there is something about a setting on a plane that always intrigues me in the first place. Sure, it might sound similar to some titles published recently, but this book was definitely first as it was first published in German back in 2017. Anyhow, I ended up having an excellent experience with this story. True, things can be said about the credibility of it all and certain aspects of the plot are WAY over the top. Some characters could have done with more fleshing out as well… But I personally didn’t mind too much, because Seat 7A was just so darn engaging! Sebastian Fitzek basically takes you on a rollercoaster ride, and especially the second half will have more than one plot twist bomb hiding in the corners. There were so many things I never saw coming! If you can ignore the fact that certain aspects of the plot are highly improbable and focus on its entertainment level instead, you will probably enjoy reading this German psychological thriller as well. Sebastian Fitzek sure knows how to work those plot twists so that you never see them coming.


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