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In a remote part of Iceland, a boy and his friend Bar?ur join a boat to fish for cod. A winter storm surprises them out at sea and Bar?ur, who has forgotten his waterproof as he was too absorbed in 'Paradise Lost', succumbs to the ferocious cold and dies. Appalled by the death and by the fishermen's callous ability to set about gutting the fatal catch, the boy leaves the village, intending to return the book to its owner.
The extreme hardship and danger of the journey is of little consequence to him - he has already resolved to join his friend in death. But once in the town he immerses himself in the stories and lives of its inhabitants, and decides that he cannot be with his friend just yet.
Set at the turn of the twentieth century, Heaven and Hell is a perfectly formed, vivid and timeless story, lyrical in style, and as intense a reading experience as the forces of the Icelandic landscape themselves. An outstandingly moving novel.
After coming through the blizzard that almost cost them everything, Jens and the boy are far from home, in a fishing community at the edge of the world.
Taken in by the village doctor, the boy once again has the sense of being brought back from the grave. But this is a strange place, with otherworldly inhabitants, including flame-haired Álfhei?ur, who makes him wonder whether it is possible to love two women at once; he had believed his heart was lost to Ragnhei?ur, the daughter of the wealthy merchant in the village to which he must now inexorably return.
Set in the awe-inspiring wilderness of the extreme north, The Heart of Man is a profound exploration of life, love and desire, written with a sublime simplicity. In this conclusion to an audacious trilogy, Stefánsson brings a poet's eye and a philosopher's insight to a tale worthy of the sagasmiths of old.
It is three weeks since the boy came to town, carrying a book of poetry to return to the old sea captain - the poetry that did for his friend Bár?ur. Three weeks, but already Bár?ur's ghost has faded. Snow falls so heavily that it binds heaven and earth together.
As the villagers gather in the inn to drink schnapps and coffee while the boy reads to them from Shakespeare's Hamlet, Jens the postman stumbles in half dead, having almost frozen to his horse. On his next journey to the wide open fjords he is accompanied by the boy, and both must risk their lives for each other, and for an unusual item of mail.
The Sorrow of Angels is a timeless literary masterpiece; in extraordinarily powerful language it brings the struggle between man and nature tangibly to life. It is the second novel in Stefánsson's epic and elemental trilogy, though all can be read independently.