Stuck in Heathrow/Schiphol/La Guardia/Charles de Gaulle? Finished your Grisham and your George and need some new reading material? I’ve got the perfect selection of novels you can read to while away the time.
My first choice is Margaret Elphinstone’s Hy Brasil. This is one of my favourite novels of all time, and it is the perfect thing to distract you from airport food. The story of Sydney Redruth’s visit as a travel writer under false pretenses to the imaginary island of Hy Brasil, a place that combines elements of Bermuda, Newfoundland, the Faroes, and yes, Iceland, located somewhere in the north Atlantic, it includes pirates (yes), ancient treasure, love, drug smuggling, political corruption, and indeed, a great big erupting volcano. You won’t be able to put it down.
While you’re in the Elphinstone section of the airport bookstore, check out her The Sea Road, a novel about a woman of Iceland who travels with the Vikings to the coast of Newfoundland. Not only will it pass the time, it will give you some ideas about possible alternate routes and methods for crossing the Atlantic while your airplane is stuck on the ground.
If it is more volcanoes you want, I suggest, Dorothy Dunnett’s To Lie with Lions, which has the benefit of still being in print. I won’t give away the plot, except to say that it has a fabulous climax during a fifteenth-century explosion of Mount Hekla, in Iceland. It is the sixth book of an eight book series though, so you’d be best off starting the series with book one, and reading through. Don’t worry. You’ve got time.