Einar Már Gudmundsson tells the story of a telephone call he received that morning. His friend told him about a theft the previous night: “It was the first burglary we had heard of in a little shop where all the person took was bread. Not money, nothing else, just bread. He must have been hungry.”
In a land famous for its Sagas, even a tale of stolen bread has resonance, emblematic of the struggles Icelanders now face. For Mr Gudmundsson, a well-known Icelandic author, the burglary adds a human detail to the story of how the Nordic island perched on a volcanic hotspot in the mid-Atlantic has recovered from being one of the earliest and biggest victims of the financial crisis in 2008.
Much has been written about its economic recovery. The island has been held up as a model pupil by the International Monetary Fund, whose help it received in 2008 after the collapse of its three main banks plunged Iceland into a financial maelstrom. Growth may have plunged by more than 10 per cent but it has rebounded in the past two years and industries such as fishing are thriving again. A victory in the Icesave court case has buoyed the national mood.