JOACHIM B. SCHMIDT, born 1981 in Graubünden, grew up as a farmer's son at Heinzenberg, lives and works since 2007 as an author, journalist and tour guide on the volcanic island Iceland. Schmidt's latest novel, Kalmann, was awarded a Prohelvetia work contribution and is published by Diogenes in 2020. His first three novels, In Küstennähe (2013), Am Tisch sitzt ein Soldat (2014) and Moosflüstern (2017) were published by Landverlag. Schmidt lives with his Icelandic partner. Two children together in Reykjavík. (Image: Eva Schram)
He is the self-appointed sheriff of Raufarhöfn. And he has everything under control. Day after day, he wanders across the vast plains around the nearly extinct village, hunting arctic foxes and setting out shark bait in the sea to process the catch into gammel shark. But in Kalmann's mind, the wheels sometimes run backwards. When one winter he discovers a pool of blood in the snow, events overtake him. With his naive wisdom. To the courage of a pure heart, it turns everything for the better. No need to worry..
In 1949, the Icelandic Farmers' Union hired about 300 German men and women, shipped them to Iceland and sent them to work on farms spread all over the island. Among them: Heinrich Lieber's mother.
Forty years later, the failed civil engineer Heinrich visits the island and his mother's grave in Reykjavík for the first time. He wants to find out why she left him behind in Germany shortly after the end of the war – and is drawn into the spell of the island himself.
"Schmidt is an extraordinary storytelling talent."
Alexander Sury, The Little League
"While reading, it quickly becomes clear: Schmidt has a zest for fabulating and storytelling."
Britta Spichiger, Radio SRF2,
A SOLDIER SITS AT THE TABLE
Hamburg, 1967. Jón is in the midst of student unrest when news from his distant homeland of Iceland throws him off course: his mother is dying. He drops out of his studies, leaves the revolution behind and goes home. The journey to the hinterland of Mývatnsveit inevitably leads him back to his past.
Images of a dreary, fatherless childhood catch up with him. Why did his father drown in a glacier river in 1942 when the whole world was upside down? Why did they make a secret of the fact that schnapps was distilled on the Steinholt farm?? And what is it about the German warplane that lies rusting in the field??
Jón's questions upset the oddball inhabitants of the mosquito lake area. He is gradually becoming aware that his family is guarding a secret that should not be revealed. Certainly not by him.
"At the table sits a soldier" is a tragic- madcap family saga, right from the stony heart of Iceland. It is the second throw, a downright criminal development novel, of the young Bündner Joachim B. Schmidt.
NEAR THE COAST
All these rumors and half-true stories; the remote Westfjords of Iceland are full of them. Perhaps it is the twilight above the deep fjords or the endlessly long winter nights that occasionally cause the few inhabitants to lose their minds.