Faber Members get 10% off their first order

The Mark

Fríða Ísberg
Translated by Larissa Kyzer

A debut novel of urgent big ideas imbued with pacy plotting and atmospheric power, by an exciting Icelandic literary talent.

Date Published
All orders are sent via Royal Mail and are tracked: choose from standard or premium delivery.

‘Absolutely stunning.’ Hernan Diaz
‘Brilliant.’ Mariana Enriquez
‘A masterpiece.’ Kaveh Akbar

The Icelandic Psychological Association has prepared a test. They call it a sensitivity assessment: a way of measuring a person’s empathy and identifying the potential for anti-social behaviour.

In a few days’ time, Iceland will vote on whether to make the test compulsory for every citizen. The nation is bitterly divided. Some believe the test makes society safer; others decry it as a violation.

As the referendum draws closer, four people – Vetur, Eyja, Tristan and Ólafur – find themselves caught in the teeth of the debate. Each of them will have to reckon with uncomfortable questions: Where do the rights of society end and the rights of the individual begin? When does utopia become dystopia?

No matter which side wins, they will all have to find a way to live with the result.

Critic Reviews

Gripping . . . In a series of gradually intertwining plotlines, The Mark presents crucial ethical questions about the risks of social engineering and the boundaries of individual agency . . . An absolutely stunning debut.

Hernan Diaz
Critic Reviews

It’s brilliant. This novel could be called ‘dystopian’ but its themes are so tangible, the characters are so real, that wouldn’t be quite right.

Mariana Enriquez
Critic Reviews

I read Fríða Ísberg’s The Mark in a single gulp . . . Isberg has written a masterpiece of public conscience and consciousness. The Mark moves in propulsive prose, between four main characters so singular and human and fallible, I feel I could pick up my phone right now and call any of them . . . One of the most fascinating and ethically nourishing contemporary novels I’ve read in ages.

Kaveh Akbar
Critic Reviews

This whip-smart, brilliant novel crackles with tension and intelligence. It left me utterly in awe. Friða Ísberg is a creative powerhouse.

Hannah Kent
Critic Reviews

The Mark is a brilliantly intelligent and entertaining novel and a real page-turner.

Sydsvenskan (Sweden)
Critic Reviews

A novel that tells us more about our present than the future.

Deutschlandfunk Kultur (Germany)

Fríða Ísberg is an Icelandic author based in Reykjavík. Her books are the poetry collections Stretch Marks and Leather Jacket Weather, the short story collection Itch and the novel The Mark, which won the Fjara Literature Prize, The Icelandic Booksellers Award, the P.O. Enquist Award. Ísberg is the 2021 recipient for The Optimist Award, awarded by the President of Iceland…

Read More