The Swan is a masterful work by one of Iceland’s most accomplished novelists and one of its leading fictional innovators. A nine-year old girl is sent to live and work on a country farm to serve her probation for shiplifting, a common form of punishment in Iceland. There, in a powerful, unchanging landscape, she experiences a community torn between ancient tradition and new attitudes. She confronts new and painful feelings and has to face the unknown within herself and her alien surroundings. The contrasts that Bergsson carefully develops throughout the novel, between the grotesque and the beautiful, the comical and the dramatic, come to a powerful conclusion in an almost surreal confrontation by a lake between the girl, the swan, and a lamb.