Kata Kata

An about-to-hit-forty cancer ward nurse in Iceland, Kata is a woman destined for a journey of revenge. After her teenage daughter Vala goes missing, Kata throws herself into work to forget. When her daughter’s body is found at last, Kata learns the awful truth of the horrors that she suffered before dying. And as Kata listens, it’s as if her world begins to gently shift out of focus, tilt off its axis: The odyssey begins. The end destination is justice, but even more so, revenge. Revenge on her daughter’s murderers, and on all men who abuse women. Because vengeance is not a male privilege, though the hand throwing the acid nearly always is. Acting according to the device “Until men’s and women’s rights are equal, women will submit their own agenda: Defence, Punishment and Sisterhood,” Kata begins the bloody process of reclaiming womankind’s right to avenge injustices, and themselves.

When Steinar Bragi began the research work for his novel Kata, he was shocked and appalled by the Icelandic statistics for crime against women, in particular that of sexual assault cases. Kata is a novel born out of this shock, and the raw horror that hides behind the figures.


Tindabikkjan (Best Icelandic Thriller/Crime Novel of the Year) Iceland 2014
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  • “Bragi, who has mastered all narrative speeds, produces image after image you can’t turn away from. /…/ Yes, Steinar Bragi knows how to portray violence against women and how to treat revenge and its mechanisms. /…/ Along the way there are some brilliant narrative techniques, and he has a wondrous talent for turning laughter into the companion of despair. This magnificent story is, as it might very well be described in Bragi’s universe, the color of a bone unable to heal.”

    Sydsvenskan, Sweden

  • “The atmosphere of the novel is like Twin Peaks on acid. /…/ If you’ve abandoned what is invaluable you cannot go on unscathed, neither as an individual nor a society. Kata exacts a punishment on society for its sacrifice of so many women. An eye for an eye, like in an old Icelandic tale. It’s an insane self-sacrifice. Or salvation, because she doesn’t do it alone, around her is the female collective that is both a promise and a threat. Kata is a novel you’ll read with some disorientation and misgiving, you’ll lose your sense of proportion and order. And that vertigo is the message of the novel. Welcome into the unfunhouse – this is where we live.”

    SVT, Sweden

  • “You can clearly sense that behind Kata’s voice there’s an author with strong convictions. An author that happily also has the ability to make a thought-provoking novel out of them.”

    Politiken, Denmark

  • “Steinar Bragi’s novel is a kind of parallell to Stieg Larsson’s sociocritical crime fiction.”

    Jyllands-Posten, Denmark

  • “Steinar Bragi goes all the way […] – there are no compromises, no mercy is given in the relentless realism and insight into the mind of a person who’s experienced a disastrous injustice that permanently changes her life. Kata urges us to confront reality in its ugliest form. An unconventional and cruel novel about violence against women that raises a question that the reader might find difficult to face.”

    Fréttablaðið, Iceland

  • “A powerful novel that pursues a series of social critiques and takes the reader on a journey which spares no one and nothing.”

    Morgunblaðið, Iceland

  • “One gets a sense of the raw solitude of the character and how the world feels utterly lost, it’s all described very well. /…/ [Steinar Bragi] takes this issue, sexual violence against women, and makes it the focal point in all ways, so that one is forced to think about it and to take a stand. /…/ This is a truly powerful book!”

    Egill Helgason, Kiljan, RÚV (Icelandic National Broadcasting Service), Iceland

  • “Steinar Bragi has written an extraordinary novel. /…/ An awesome story of great power, driven by a formidable frenzy. /…/ It’s the combination of such powerful, complex narrative styles and having so much told to us about a subject he [Steinar Bragi] thinks is a matter of great importance, and wants to change, that propels this book forward.”

    Thorgeir Tryggvason, Kiljan, RÚV (Icelandic National Broadcasting Service), Iceland

Photo: Salomonsson Agency Steinar Bragi
  • Literary
Reading material

Icelandic edition

English sample

Rights sold

Denmark, Gyldendal

Finland, Like

Iceland, Forlagid

Netherlands, Xander

Russia, Eksmo

Slovakia, Albatros

Film rights sold

Iceland, Glassriver

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