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Touch: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Touch: A Novel By Olaf Olafsson Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

This book is part of our FALL READING CHALLENGE. Read more about our challenge here.

This is a novel structured to be savored in small portions. A quiet, reflective story written in short strokes by a skilled author. Two events upend the life of Kristofer, a 75-year-old Icelandic restaurateur: his establishment closes and a message appears from a long-lost lover. Thus begins his unlikely journey to solve a 50-year-old mystery. First to London, the site of his youthful affair. And then to Japan for the answers to his questions. A touching exploration into the elusiveness of both love and memories.

— Trey


A mesmerizing, panoramic story of one man’s search to find a lover who suddenly disappeared decades before

When the pandemic hits, Kristofer is forced to shutter his successful restaurant in Reykjavik, sending him into a spiral of uncertainty, even as his memory seems to be failing. But an uncanny bolt from the blue—a message from Miko Nakamura, a woman whom he’d known in the sixties when they were students in London—both inspires and rattles him, as he is drawn inexorably back into a love story that has marked him for life. Even as the pandemic upends his world, Kristofer finds himself pulled toward an answer to the mystery of Miko’s sudden departure decades before, compelling him to travel to London and Japan as the virus threatens to shut everything down.

A heart-wrenching love story and an absorbing mystery, Touch delves into the secrets of the past to explore the hidden lives that we all possess, the pain and beauty of our past loves and friendships that continue to leave their mark on us. Searching and lyrically rendered by acclaimed author Olaf Olafsson, Touch is a stunning tribute to the weight of history and the complexities of the human heart. 

About the Author

Olaf Olafsson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1962. He studied physics as a Wien scholar at Brandeis University. He is the author of six previous novels, The Journey Home, Absolution, Walking into the Night, Restoration, One Station Away, and The Sacrament, and a story collection, Valentines. He spends his time in New York City, Sag Harbor, and Reykjavik.

Praise For…

“The gratifying ending is hopeful. [Touch] adds up to an affecting story about the sway one’s past can hold on the present.” — Publishers Weekly

"Olafsson’s treatment of the vast cultural chasm between Icelander Kristófer, and Miko...brings suspense and heartache to the reader." — Library Journal

"Delicate, absorbing...Touch is weighted with questions about love, memory, and intergenerational trauma--reaching a denouement as satisfying as it is moving." — Vogue

"Olafsson is writing at the top of his game here — any reader with a taste for novels that gently explore the internal world will find much to love in this remarkable book." — Minneapolis Star Tribune

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063226982
ISBN-10: 0063226987
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: August 16th, 2022
Pages: 272
Language: English