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"What Stays in Silence" - an influential book about women
Tryggvi Gíslason.

Many good books were published last autumn: novels, memoirs and scholarly publications - not to mention books of poetry that number in the tens, as the Icelandic language has never been stronger as a living national language than now.  The statement is based on the fact that not only this past autumn but in recent decades, more fields of knowledge in Icelandic have been written about than ever before. Fiction, playwriting, poetry, filmmaking and radio and television shows are flourishing. There have also been innovations in poetry, science singing and rap, as well  in radio and television commercials, where originality, puns and humor, previously unknown in the case, have enriched the language.

One book from last autumn has a special position for many reasons, Ásta Kristrún Ragnarsdóttir's book which she calls What stays in the silence. Ásta Kristrún is a pioneer in study counseling in Iceland and worked for almost twenty years in the development of the University of Iceland's services, and since childhood she has been fond of art, as well as books, art and music.

The book What Stays in Silence deals with the life and destiny of Icelandic women in the 19th and 20th centuries.  


The beginning of the book says that everywhere in the story, the achievements of women are seldom mentioned and those who have been on the cards of history, most of them got there because of cruelty, cunning or magic. Many important women, however, live in the deep silence of the ages.  With the book, Ásta Kristrún also wanted to remove the veil  the silence about her three forefathers, Kristrúna Jónsdóttir [1806-1881], Ásta Júlía Thorgrímsen [1842-1893] and Kristrúna Tómasdóttir [1878-1959], in addition to which she discusses Jakobína Jónsdóttir [1835-1919], Grímur's wife Thomsens [1820-1896].  Kristrún Jónsdóttir was engaged to Baldvin Einarsson [1801-1833] and waited for him for seven years, but he married another woman in Copenhagen.  Seven years after the breakup, Kristrún married Reverend Hallgrím Jónsson [1811-1880], a great scholar, but Kristrún mourned Baldvin Einarsson.  all life.  Ásta Kristrún's story about Guðný Jónsdóttir, a poetess from Klömbrar in Aðaldalur, who was a sister  Kristrún and died long before the age of child loss and cruelty in marriage.

The book What Stays in Silence is written while the struggle of women around the world against male violence and sexual discrimination was breaking out, and although the book is not written in connection with that struggle, it adds more depth to that important struggle.  Ásta Kristrún says that the book's stories about the significant women who created her views and connections to the past are written in memory of her parents, Jónín Vigdís Schram [1924-2007] and Ragnar Tómas Árnason [1917-1984].

The author's sensitivity and feeling for other people, their situation and environment are shaped by the sincerity and poetic inspiration of people from her life, so that sometimes the reader does not distinguish between fiction and reality, which makes the book even more captivating.  The book's social images and descriptions of people's lives have a message for everyone, men and women in the new century of new rights and the equality of nations and individuals.

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