The Casket of Time


The Casket of Time


By Andri Snær Magnason

Translated from the Icelandic by Björg Arnadóttir and Andrew Cauthery

Yonder: Restless Books for Young Readers | Ages 10 and up

An entrancing adventure for today’s troubled planet, The Casket of Time is a fantastical tale of time travel and environmental calamity from celebrated Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason.

Book Details

Hardcover List Price: $17.99 • ISBN: 9781632062055 • Publication: Apr 9, 2019 • 5.5" x 8.25" • 240 pages • Middle Grade Fiction: adventure / fairy tale • Ages: 10 and up • Territory: World • eBook ISBN: 9781632062062

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About the Book

Teenage Sigrun is sick of all the apocalyptic news about the “situation” and, worse, her parents’ obsession with it. Sigrun’s family—along with everyone else—decides to hibernate in their TimeBoxes®, hoping for someone else to fix the world’s problems . But when Sigrun’s TimeBox® opens too early, she discovers an abandoned city overrun by wilderness and joins a band of kids who are helping a researcher named Grace solve the “situation.”

The world, according to Grace, is under an ancient curse. There once was a princess named Obsidiana, who was trapped in time by the greedy king of Pangea. To protect Obsidiana from dark and gloomy days, the king put her in a crystal casket made of spider silk woven so tightly that time itself couldn’t penetrate. The king’s greed for power doomed his kingdom and the trapped princess. Sigrun sees eerie parallels between the tale of Obsidiana and the present-day crisis, and realizes it’s up to her and her friends to break the ancient curse and fix the world.


Praise for The Casket of Time:

Winner of The Icelandic Literary Prize for Children and Young People’s Books

Winner of The Icelandic Booksellers Prize for Best Teenage Book of the Year

Nominated for the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize

Nominated for the The West Nordic Literature Prize

Nominated for the Reykjavik Children’s Literature Prize

“The story confronts the concept of time and twists old fairy-tale memories with a passionate creativity.”

—The Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize Citation

“Andri Snær Magnason has created an intimate epic that floats effortlessly between genres as diverse as fairy tale and political commentary, science fiction and social realism. The Casket of Time spans the chasm between ‘once upon a time’ and ‘have you heard the news today’ in a way that makes his philosophical fable feel both timely and timeless.”

—Bjarke Ingels

“[A] beautiful and haunting Snow White–inspired tale…. Magnason, a celebrated writer and the second runner-up in Iceland’s 2016 presidential election, has woven a literary fantasy with environmentalist themes that will find fans among thoughtful young readers.”

— Eleanor Roth, Booklist

“The power of story animates a tale that communicates—but is not overpowered by—urgent messages.”

Kirkus Reviews

"This is a book I would put on a shelf with The Hobbit, Alice in Wonderland and The Little Prince. A children's story but it would be very good for adults to read it as well."

—Eric Lorberer of Rain Taxi Review

Praise for The Story of the Blue Planet:

“A Seussean mix of wonder, wit and gravitas.”

The New York Times

Praise for Dreamland: A Self-Help Guide for a Frightened Nation:

“Andri in his book not only explains the situation—what these politicians did behind the scenes—but also suggests other ways to interact with Icelandic nature and keep one’s dignity. I have a feeling this is an universal problem that our generation will find solutions to. This book is one of these solutions.”


“[A] scathingly funny critique of his country’s politics and society.”

—Rebecca Solnit, author of Call Them by Their True Names

Praise for LoveStar:

2013 Philip K. Dick Special Citation

“Orwell, Vonnegut, and Douglas Adams are felt on every page, though Magnason is never derivative. His satire and insightful social commentary sweeten the pot and the sheer wackiness of Magnason’s oversized imagination is invigorating.

Publisher’s Weekly

“A highly entertaining and incredibly exciting story that will set your imagination flying.”

—Thorgerdur Sigurdardottir, Icelandic National Television


About Yonder

Yonder is a new imprint from Restless Books devoted to bringing the wealth of great stories from around the globe to English-reading children, middle graders, and young adults. Books from other countries, cultures, viewpoints, and storytelling traditions can open up a universe of possibility, and the wider our view, the more powerfully books enrich and expand us. In an increasingly complex, globalized world, stories are potent vehicles of empathy. We believe it is essential to teach our kids to place themselves in the shoes of others beyond their communities, and instill in them a lifelong curiosity about the world and their place in it. Through publishing a diverse array of transporting stories, Yonder nurtures the next generation of savvy global citizens and lifelong readers.


About the Author

Andri Snær Magnason is an Icelandic writer, born in Reykjavik on the 14th of July 1973. Andri has written novels, poetry, plays, short stories, essays and films. He studied Icelandic literature at the University of Iceland. His novel LoveStar got a Philip K. Dick Special Citation, the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire in France, and “Novel of The Year” in Iceland. The Story of the Blue Planet was the first children’s book to receive the Icelandic Literary Award and has been published or performed in 35 countries. The Story of the Blue Planet received the Janusz Korczak Honorary Award in Poland 2000. Andri has collaborated with various artists. He has been active in the fight for preserving the nature of Iceland. His book Dreamland: A Self Help Manual for a Frightened Nation takes on these issues and has sold more than 20,000 copies in Iceland. He co directed Dreamland, a feature-length documentary film based on the book. Footage from an interview with Andri can be seen in the Oscar Award winning documentary Inside Job by Charles Ferguson. His most recent book, The Casket of Time, has now been published in about 10 languages and was nominated as the best fantasy book in Finland in 2016, along with books by Ursula K. le Guin and David Mitchell. Andri Snær lives in Reykjavík with his wife Margrét, and four children.


About the Translators

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Born and educated in Reykjavík, Björg Árnadóttir has lived and worked in England since 1971; her British husband, Andrew Cauthery, is fluent in Icelandic. They have worked together for many years, translating both English texts into Icelandic and Icelandic texts into English. They have worked on a wide variety of manuscripts, including books on Icelandic nature and technical topics, as well as literature. Literary works in Icelandic include translations of Wind in the Willows for Iceland State Radio and A Map of Nowhere by Gillian Cross, for Mál og Menning. Works in English include three crime novels (House of Evidence, Daybreak, and Sun on Fire) by Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson for Amazon Crossing, and And the Wind Sees All by Guðmundur Andri Thorsson, published by Peirene Press in September 2018.