- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Melville House; First. edition (September 1, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1612194133
- ISBN-13: 978-1612194134
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gnarr! How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World Hardcover – June 9, 2014
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“Jón Gnarr, the greatest accident in politics...Integral to Gnarr’s ethos was the idea that politics is a crap job, just like any other crap job – so we all have the right to become involved just because we feel like it."
—New Statesman (UK)
“It should have been a disaster. Gnarr had no background in politics...While rival politicians ruthlessly went for him...voters were by and large charmed."
—the Guardian's G2 magazine (UK)
“Gnarr! is an entertaining reflection on life, politics, and human nature by an original and creative individual...It’s a tribute to, and manifesto for, participatory democracy in the 21st century. And above all, it’s a call for us all to be nicer to each other."
“I love the mayor of Iceland.”
“Certainly my favorite mayor. No competition, in fact.”
“Jón Gnarr has given the mayor profession a new human earnesty with radical stand-up style, and has chiseled away the stagnancy in that post with explosive humor.”
About the Author
JÓN GNARR was born in 1967 in Reykjavík. He formed the Best Party in 2009 and became the mayor of Reykjavík in 2010. His acting work includes the movies The Icelandic Dream and A Man Like Me and the television series The Night Shift, which aired on BBC4. In 2014, at the end of Gnarr’s mayoral term, the Best Party will be dissolved. Its members, however, have formed a new political party: Bright Future, which in 2013 won six seats in the Icelandic parliament.
ANDREW BROWN's recent translations include works by Proust, Zola, Flaubert, Stendhal, Rabelais, and Baudelaire.
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Top customer reviews
In this memoir, Gnarr recalls his upbringing, espouses some love for Icelandic culture, and details the entire crazy ride of becoming mayor of Iceland's capital and only large city. His translated and straight-forward prose holds a hint of comedy that transcends translation ("And an idea is born when two ideas have sex with each other, and a third idea comes into being."), and it is easy to see why he has garnered international attention from the likes of Noam Chomsky and Lady Gaga. In addition to his honest recounting, he peppers the chapters with interludes from his party website and an interview of his wife Johanna (Joga) Johannsdottir.
As mayor in a country crippled by the recent finanical crisis, Gnarr had to quickly dial from comedic relief to bureocratic icon, making tough decisions including merging schools and saving near-bankrupt energy companies. Beyond the political decisions themselves, it is touching to read about his stress of his political office, his firm stance on a peaceful Iceland, and his commitment to gay and transgender rights--which would explain his 2010 appearance at the Gay Pride parade.
Now that Gnarr has stepped down from his office after not seeking a second term, it is unclear what the future holds. As someone who knew little of Icelandic history and culture before reading this memoir, I cannot wait to see what he does next.
To see how a comedian became a mayor is an unusual process. It illustrates how broken our current western political system is and how hungry we are for change.
Jon Gnarr'a process to run for political office in Reykjavik started as a joke. But then he really started to get serious about it. If you don't mind the meandering course of the narrative and the choppy flow you will certainly pull out some fresh and revolutionary political ideas that give a lot of value and voice to those typically neglected in the larger system.
Jon Gnarr is a colorful character and the last person you would expect in political office. That is probably why you will choose to read this book. Even if you disagree with his controversial views you will find him like able and fun, a fresh breeze to a stymied and arthritic system.
Humor, honesty and forthrightness brought success to Jon and his friends who in a good will moment said hey let's create a political party, "The Best Party" and off to an adventure they went.
Fun book learning about another country (Iceland is green and the original word meant island) rather than have the learning come about because we went to war with that country is a breath of fresh air in itself. How a little country took care of the corrupt bankers. A story with a good ending.
We wait to see what this young man will do next with his life.