In October 2008, Iceland went from being one of the wealthiest countries in the world to being one of the poorest, within the space of about two weeks. During those sensational few days, regular citizens stood by helplessly and watched as Iceland’s three large commercial banks folded and Iceland’s currency, the króna, plummeted in value, eventually becoming worthless outside of Iceland.
Living Inside the Meltdown is the first published collection of interviews with ordinary people about their experiences of Iceland’s economic meltdown.
I was curious to know how a police officer felt who had to take a stand against protesters during the ensuing political crisis, which culminated in the Kitchenware Revolution. Did sympathize with them, or was he opposed? Did he want to join the protesters? And looking back, how does he view this time?
I was also curious to know how someone who worked in a bank had felt going to work on the day the bank melted down. What was the atmosphere like? What was her workday like?
And what about those people we had heard about who were students abroad when currency controls were suddenly implemented and who were cut off from their financial source? Some of them had small children – how did they cope in a foreign country with no access to money?
What about small business owners, who suddenly had to pay for orders up front? And what was it like for foreigners who lived in Iceland and who perhaps had a limited understanding of what was going on. Were they afraid? Where did they get their news from?
I found these answers, plus many more that I wasn’t even looking for, in the interviews.
From a review in Iceland Review, Iceland’s most established English-language publisher:
If you take anything away from this review, let it be this: You must read this book. […] If you are currently living through the recession (this goes for people anywhere in the world, but in particular, in Iceland), you will be able to share in the common experience of these people’s stories. […] The book isn’t a collection of rants, nor is it an all out sob-fest, but rather gives accounts on the same topic, the collapse, each with its own story and insight.
I stayed up most of the night reading your book. Bravo and thank you for the clear and concise insight into the lives of ordinary residents. — Joe Daly
I’m deeply impressed with your e-book. It really get to the heart of the things and presents a side of things that doesn’t make it to the rest of the world. It certainly echoes a lot of what my friends and relatives in Iceland tell me about the mood of the place. — Quentin Bates, author of Frozen Assets
Great read, bought and finished it already. Really takes you into the human stories behind the news. — Bill Crandall
Living Inside the Meltdown is a stunning read … I hope [it] gets the big readership it deserves. — Sylvia Hikins
Unlike the umpteenth book about the collapse from the bankers’ or economists’ point of view it provides some new insights, which I couldn’t find elsewhere – for instance the account of immigrants like the construction worker and the painter. I think it reveals a valuable insight into the relation between Icelanders and immigrant workers, which is apparently fraught with tension. Without the book this would otherwise remain almost invisible for outsiders like me. … There had been several requests in comments to older post about writing a book on the meltdown from the ordinary people’s point of view. Now the book is here and I hope it finds many readers. — Joerg
I learned more in the few hours it took me to read it about how Íslendingar have really been affected than my many months of reading Icelandic newspaper articles and blogs. Highly recommended reading whatever the price. — Digitaleye Hawaii