668: Sarah Thomas: The Raven’s Nest

Visiting Iceland as an anthropologist and filmmaker in 2008, Sarah Thomas is spellbound by its otherworldly landscape. An immediate love for this country and for Bjarni, a man she meets there, turns a week-long stay into a transformative half-decade, one which radically alters Sarah’s understanding of herself and of the living world. She embarks on a relationship not only with Bjarni, but with the light, the language and the old wooden house they make their home. She finds a place where the light of the midwinter full moon reflected by snow can be brighter than daylight, where the earth can tremor at any time, and where the word for echo – bergmál – translates as ‘the language of the mountain’. In the midst of crisis both personal and planetary, as her marriage falls apart, Sarah finds inspiration in the artistry of a raven’s nest: a home which persists through breaking and reweaving – over and over.

“There was something in this corner of northwest Iceland that reminded me of that aliveness .. A direct relationship with one’s surroundings”

“I’m sending also some sea-themed ephemera,” writes Sarah, “postcards from the days I ran my little wooden house as a b’n’b: old glass fishing net floats, the view from my old house in winter, the view in summer with a cruise ship disappearing into sea fog and the Viking ship which was my wedding transport.”

Sarah Thomas “The Raven’s Nest”. Published by the Atlantic Books in 2022. Donated by the author as Jólabókaflóðið or Christmas book flood tradition in Iceland and with an inscription “For the Sea Library which holds its depths in its pages” ❤️

Photos by Anna Iltnere / Sea Library

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