Meltdown Iceland, By Roger Boyes

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The Independent Culture

"One could not hide from this crisis, not even on a chunk of volcanic rock in the north Atlantic". Especially not there: Boyes's utterly gripping account of how Iceland swiftly became the "microcosm" of a planetary market panic yields as crisp and bleak a saga of the downside of globalisation as you will ever read.

As he traces the nation's journey from free-spending hubris to bankrupt nemesis, a story emerges of such eerie and bizarre drama that you feel caught up in some parable co-written by Ballard and Pratchett. After the crack-up, deliriously doomed and angry citizens gathered in Reykjavik with banners reading "Helvitis fokking fokk". It means roughly what you think.