Nightfire is thrilled to announce the acquisition of The Night Guest by Hildur Knútsdóttir, an eerie and ensnaring story set in contemporary Reykjavík that’s sure to keep you awake at night.
Iðunn is in yet another doctor’s office. She knows her constant fatigue is a sign that something’s not right, but practitioners dismiss her symptoms and blood tests haven’t revealed any cause.
When she talks to friends and family about it, the refrain is the same — have you tried eating better? exercising more? establishing a nighttime routine? She tries to follow their advice, buying everything from vitamins to sleeping pills to a step-counting watch. Nothing helps.
Until one night Iðunn falls asleep with the watch on, and wakes up to find she’s walked over 40,000 steps in the night . . .
What is happening when she’s asleep? Why is she waking up with increasingly disturbing injuries? And why won’t anyone believe her?
Advanced Praise for The Night Guest
“The Night Guest is evocative and powerfully restrained. At times chilling, at others harrowingly familiar, The Night Guest is a fascinating examination of femininity, agency, and self, and a genuinely heart-pounding read.”—Olivie Blake, New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six
“From its opening pages, Hildur Knútsdóttir’s eerie and elegant The Night Guest wraps its icy fingers around you and pulls you in. It’s so atmospheric, so well-crafted, and so truly, deeply unsettling that by the end, you feel every bit as haunted as its sleepless heroine. If you’re a horror fan—or just a fan of great writing in general—you need to have this one on your radar!”—Rachel Hawkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs
“I inhaled this book. Not since Sarah Gran’s Come Closer has every sentence sliced at the reader’s heart. This book will bleed you out before you’re done.”—Clay McLeod Chapman, author of Ghost Eaters
“A beautifully written story: visceral, layered, and haunting. I loved every moment.”—Sunyi Dean, bestselling author of The Book Eaters
“Effortlessly alternating between dark humor and the darkest horror, The Night Guest hooked me immediately—and then proceeded to reel me in with a vivid, haunting story that evades easy answers and is all the more terrifying for it.”—Sam J. Miller, award-winning author of The Blade Between
“The Night Guest is a tightly woven, nasty little fable that thrums with dread. If it keeps you awake at night, you just might be grateful.”—Christopher Buehlman, author of The Blacktongue Thief
Here’s what Hildur Knútsdóttir has to say:
I generally suffer bouts of extreme fatigue one or two times a year. They usually last about ten days, sometimes two weeks. My doctor has done all kinds of tests. All sorts of horrible diseases have been ruled out and they haven’t really found any explanation. “I meet so many tired women,“ my doctor told me, and shrugged.
It’s just (embarrassingly) recently that I made the connection that these spells usually hit just after I turn in a manuscript that I have been working hard on. So I am fairly calm about these bouts nowadays; I know that the fatigue will pass. But the first few years that I experienced them, I was of course convinced that I was suffering from some terrible, incurable disease. When I am in the midst of one, I wake up bone tired. All my muscles are sore, and I feel as if I haven’t slept at all. As if I’ve been on a long hike, climbed a mountain, or maybe been out dancing — but I just don’t remember.
This sparked my idea for The Night Guest. Iðunn wakes up sore and tired every morning, sometimes with unexplained bruises. Her doctors can find no explanation. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t one. This is a story about what it can feel like when your body betrays you, for seemingly no reason – and that there might be more than one way to be haunted by the past.
My one rule when writing this book was that I was not going to have any rules. The story came out like it wanted to, in long chapters, short chapters, loud silences, and blank pages. It was such a pleasure for me to write, and I hope at least some of that pleasure finds its way to new readers through Mary Robinette Kowal’s beautiful translation.
Hildur Knútsdóttir was born in Reykjavík, Iceland, in 1984. She has lived in Spain, Germany, and Taiwan and studied literature and creative writing at The University of Iceland. She writes fiction both for adults and teenagers, as well as short fiction, plays, and screenplays. Hildur is known for her evocative fantastical fiction and spine-chilling horror. She lives in Reykjavík with her husband, their two daughters, and a puppy called Uggi.
Photo Credit: Davíð Þór
The Night Guest will hit shelves in 2024!