Music from and inspired by the book are included on this page.
Music was a part of writing this book. Some tracks just happened to be ther and are now forever linked, whilst others I turned to because of the mood they suggested and it helped to generate the inspiration. Some act as leit-motifs for the story. Others too, have been added retrospectively because they just kind of fit. the whole thing is hopelessly eclectic and probably desperately uncool – but that’s just how my iPod is.
- Listen to the playlist on Spotify
Quite simply, think of Eleanor lost and alone in a storm and trapped in the Icelandic Highlands. I used to listen to his a lot whilst writing parts of the book.
Imagine the scene: its the first morning after your arrival in Iceland; the first night of sleeping in a country with near-24 hours of daylight is behind you. Your head downstairs for breakfast at Snorri’s Guesthouse with a bunch of people who will, for two weeks at least, become your closest of friends. This video was playing on Popp TV and it seems oddly appropriate for downtown 101 Reykjavik.
The story opens with a young woman being lost in the mountains, feared dead. It’s not long before it’s discovered that she was taken from the wilderness by a Stranger in the mountains.
Ég Sjálf (bonus track – not in the playlist)
Have a look at the video on YouTube and see how the music and the imagery connects with the road trip parts of the story. Hanna Katla never did the things that the girl in the video does and she drives a jeep rather than a classic car but it does give a feeling of her and Ben’ journey into the north.
Infectiously catch, don’t watch the video to this song if you are of a nervous disposition or easily shocked. It does reflect the blending of past and present, reality and mythology, and hits you hard with the joining of a shamelessly joyful song with shocking imagery.
Does anything say the Icelandic landscape more than Sigur-Rós. I like to think that I came to them before they became the ubiquitious simple of Iceland that they they have become. I still like this song though with its rousing fanfare. Much of this novel was written to the soundtrack of their music.
This song will forever bring back images of sitting in the back of a steamed up minibus with a dozen other conservation volunteers somewhere in the middle of Snowdonia. Tired and wet, this is playing on the radio…
I first heard this song in the back of a bus with blacked-out windows driving through the middle of the Icelandic Highlands on roads that were barely roads from a cassette tape that slipped and slurred. We only had the one mix tape for the entire holiday and less than patchy radio reception so this song was our companion. It even makes the pages of the novel!
Allt Sem Ég Sé (bonus track – not in the playlist)
The music video to this song brings to mind so vividly so many of the themes in the story. I don’t know what the words are but the rhythm works for me – the discovery of a new world – one where mythical creatures creep in, haunt you, and inhabit your dreams, and play with your mind.
If Hoppipola was the popular choice this is no less inspiring – possibly more so. I hear so much of the book in this one single song (maybe because it might have been on repeat for sometimes hours of late night writing as I inhabited that place). The fact that it is sung in the made-up Hopelandic language makes it even more so…
Whenever rain meets sunlight there’s a chance that you might see the Bifrost, and if you really know where to look maybe you too could cross the bridge between the worlds. Just think how that would feel…? It7#x2019;s also a strong disco piece, and I find that I can’t help but think of Alice on a cliff, high above the Ásbyrgi canyon, singing and dancing in the late sunshine of an Arctic summer’s night.
I came across this all girl pop-rock band at the airport upon my arrival in Estonia in 2003. They were on the front cover of Tallinn Airport magazine. Intrigued, I bought their album blind (shoud that be ‘deaf’) of the internet and they weren’t actually that bad. This song conjures up the thread of discovery and denial, lies and truth that runs through the novel. It’s the unplugged version which I actually prefer.
One of the themes of the novel is the friendships that are formed when like-minded individuals are thrown together and an idea that is particularly close to my heart. When a group of people from different backgrounds and with different musical tastes come together in a foreign land, the local music playing on radio at that time, can become for those 10–14 days the soundtrack to the experience. This is unashamably Europop; imagine this track infiltrating the events, almost awkwardly, through the radio of the minibus, across the campsite, in the airport terminal or whilst filling up on petrol at the local gas station.
There are several people in this story that this story could refer to; pick your favourite and fit the song to he, she, or them and don’t be too concerned if they aren’t currently, have been, or will be, a couple…
This is the title song from their third album and again it conjures up the dark magic and the norse mythology that runs through the book.
Can’t Help Falling In Love (bonus track – not in the playlist)
I’ve loved this song for such a long time – longer even than me knowing it was an Elvis cover and I’ve only recently discovered that the band have a whole album of similarly brilliant music. It appears here because you don’t know a song until you’ve heard it sung at night in a naturally heated hot tub between two huge ice caps. There’s a joy to it and I can’t help think of Ben and Kirsten when I hear this.
There’s a serious side to the novel as Ben would be sure to remind you, and this, a modern day rock anthem if I may call it that should remind us that if we don’t do something to curb our effect on climate change then there is no future for our children.
Get a group of people together, have them laugh, joke, adn play games and at some point someone is going to start singing this. It’s a classic. Enjoy!
Despite the similarity of the song title with that of this story that’s not why it’s here. Substitute ‘world’ for ‘road’ crank up the stereo and sing along to it as you drive to the end of a fjörd and you’ll understand why this has to have a place here.
Eldur Í Mér (bonus track – not in the playlist)
The calm after the storm(s); that time when you are allowed to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of the world. For a while all threats are gone; all dangers are past – imagine the joy of just living.
Europop, yes. Unashamedly cheerful, definitely. I stumbled upon this song and it had to go in. It’s the song that Hanna’s band would sing, unplugged, with friends and family to celebrate her life after everything that happens in the story.