Story — From the January 2013 issue

The Hidden Person

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All her things fit into a canvas bag, and she took it with her everywhere. It weighed about as much as a hen. She kept a pot in it because you never knew when you would need coffee. She wore a black sweater suit, a knit shawl, nothing memorable — except that her throat and clavicles were sheathed in a stout white collar that went right up to her jaw and made of her young face a forbidding object. Her skin was bad, coarse, her knuckles bulbous. But she was clean. Her bright hair maintained its shape even in the weather. Her conversation was always a little in disarray, which suited unfussy movement from this to that. If she had a few krónur she spent them, usually on makeup from a catalogue. Her mind was a house she had built alone and furnished with hearsay picked up from the stables and the streets. She had lived all over the eastern part of the country and much of the south.

Her name was Unnur.

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’s debut novel, The End, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and winner of the New York Public Library’s 2009 Young Lions Fiction Award. He administers the writing fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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