Gnarr: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World

Gnarr: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, August 29


In the epicenter of the world financial crisis, a comedian launched a joke campaign that didn’t seem so funny to the country’s leading politicians . . .

It all started when Jón Gnarr founded the Best Party in 2009 to satirize his country’s political system. The financial collapse in Iceland had, after all, precipitated the world-wide meltdown, and fomented widespread protest over the country’s leadership.

Entering the race for mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, Gnarr promised to get the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park into downtown parks, free towels at public swimming pools, a “drug-free Parliament by 2020” . . . and he swore he’d break all his campaign promises.

But then something strange started happening: his campaign began to succeed. And in the party’s electoral debut, the Best Party emerged as the biggest winner. Gnarr promptly proposed a coalition government, although he ruled out partners who had not seen all five seasons of The Wire.

And just like that, a man whose previous foreign-relations experience consisted of a radio show (in which he regularly crank-called the White House and police stations in the Bronx to see if they had found his lost wallet) was soon meeting international leaders and being taken seriously as the mayor of a European capital.

Here, Gnarr recounts how it all happened and, with admirable candor, describes his vision of a more enlightened politics for the future. The point, he writes, is not to be afraid to get involved—or to take on the system.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612194370
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication date: 05/19/2015
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 1,061,065
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

JÓN GNARR was born in 1967 in Reykjavík. He formed the Best Party in 2009 and became the mayor of Reykjavík in 2010. His acting work includes the movies The Icelandic Dream and A Man Like Me and the television series The Night Shift, which aired on BBC4. In 2014, at the end of Gnarr’s mayoral term, the Best Party will be dissolved. Its members, however, have formed a new political party: Bright Future, which in 2013 won six seats in the Icelandic parliament.

ANDREW BROWN's recent translations include works by Proust, Zola, Flaubert, Stendhal, Rabelais, and Baudelaire.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

The Future 3

Iceland 9

Send in the Clown 17

The Politics of My Youth 23

Punk 27

Being Silly 33

The Financial Crash 39

The Third Way 45

What You Need to Be a Politician 51

Our Coals: A New Kind of Political Program 57

Democracy 61

The Campaign 67

The Best Party: We Are Better Than All the Others 73

Joke! 77

After the Election 85

Our Moral Code 93

Becoming Mayor 97

A Clown in City Hall 103

Wu Wei 107

My Family 111

Interview with Jóhanna (Jóga) Jóhannsdóttir 117

Facebook and Co. 129

Stress 131

Reykjavík-City of Peace 139

International Politics 145

A Letter to Barack Obama 149

NATO 153

The World Is Getting Better and Better 155

Repression 161

And Now? 169

The End 173

Inside Iceland 173

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews