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Drawing Mundi

By Gay Strandemo

Bryndís Víglundsdóttir is a superb storyteller and my job is to keep up with her as an illustrator.

After we collaborated on Guðríður’s Saga, she was quick to suggest that we try something else, which turned out to be stories from her late husband’s childhood in the Westfjords, precisely Injaldssandur.

Book: Mundi, Boy of Iceland's West Fjords
Book: Mundi, Boy of Iceland's West Fjords

Guðmundur, called Mundi, grew up in the 1930s and 1940s where the frigid Arctic meets Iceland’s rugged mountains and fjords. The raw force of nature was always an adversary, but Mundi managed to have fun while working his chores and to survive his adventures.

There are 12 Mundi stories and 13 illustrations that depict Mundi at roughly ages five through twelve. There were no childhood photos of Mundi, but Bryndís sent a childhood photo of one of her sons that her mother-in-law claimed looked quite like his father as a boy. My experience in drawing Guðríður at various ages was helpful background for this project. I was able to show Mundi in continuity throughout time.

Gay Strandemo holding Mundi book
Gay Strandemo holding "Mundi"

Depicting a life that isn’t yours can be tricky. I didn’t know what color dyes the garments would have had and, having never been to Iceland, I wasn’t always sure of the terrain. But Bryndís, ever helpful, supplied me with photos and descriptions that supplemented my other finds, and with my husband Tracy’s publishing skills, it was all edited, formatted, and printed.

Mundi: Boy of Iceland’s West Fjords is available on our website:

Gay and Tracy will also have a booth at Norsk Høstfest September 27, 2023 - September 30, in Minot, North Dakota, where the new book and their other publications will be available to purchase.


Email us your questions or join the conversation on our Facebook Group.

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