Atomic station

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Atomic Station (isl. Atómstöðin ) is a novel by the Icelandic writer Halldór Laxness . The work was written 1946–47 and was published in 1948.


The historical background of the novel is the occupation of Iceland by the British in 1940, which was replaced by the Americans in 1941. Iceland's independence was seen as endangered by the US request (1946) to build a base for 99 years. But the Icelandic parliament finally agreed and signed the Keflavík Treaty. Halldór Laxness criticized the fact that Icelandic jurisprudence was no longer effective in the area of ​​the base. Above all, however, he saw a threat to Icelandic life, because in a nuclear war Iceland would become a potential target through this base. These fears arose shortly before the two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ; immediately after these events, Laxness began working on the novel.


The uneducated peasant girl Ugla comes from a remote place in northern Iceland to the capital Reykjavík to work for the MP Búi Árland and to learn to play the organ. She encounters a world completely unknown to her: politicians and the military come and go, the residents are spoiled, snobbish and arrogant, but at least the children are touching. She, on the other hand, comes from a farming village, where the medieval Icelandic sagas are more important than what is reported in the media and are considered the highest measure of action and thought. While the Prime Minister conducts secret negotiations with the Americans and "sells" the country, Ugla also meets other trends of the time, especially in the house of her organ teacher, where she comes into contact with communist and anarchist thoughts; she also protests against the establishment of the base.

At the apex of the novel, she is faced with a choice between a life with the wealthy MP, with whom she had a brief relationship, and a simple cop who has become over-indebted on a brief attempt in the business world. She understands the insurmountability of class differences and decides in favor of the policeman from whom she had a child.


The novel was filmed in 1984 under the title Atómstöðin in Iceland by Þorsteinn Jónsson .


  • Atomstation , Roman (translated by Ernst Harthern) (= rororo paperback , volume 162), Rowohlt, Hamburg 1955, DNB 452732271 .
  • Halldór Laxness: Atomstation , Roman (translated from Icelandic by Ernst Harthern ), Aufbau, Berlin 1955, DNB 57457333X (edition for the GDR. Distribution in West Germany, West Berlin and Switzerland is not permitted).
  • Halldór Laxness: Atomstation: Roman (original title: Atómstödin , translated by Hubert Seelow ), Steidl, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-86930-402-1 .

Sources and secondary literature

  • Wilhelm Friese : Halldór Laxness. The novels. An introduction. In: Contributions to Nordic Philology. Vol. 24, Helbing and Lichtenhahn, Basel, Frankfurt am Main 1995, pp. 67-77.
  • Aldo Keel : Innovation and Restoration. The novelist Halldór Laxness since World War II. In: Contributions to Nordic Philology. Vol. 10, Helbing and Lichtenhahn, Basel, Frankfurt am Main 1981, pp. 8-65.
  • Erik Sønderholm : Halldór Laxness. En monografi. Gyldendal , Copenhagen 1981, pp. 229-243.

Individual evidence

  1. Atomic Station in the Internet Movie Database , accessed on July 13, 2012