This story revolves around the young boy Álvgrímur. Abandoned by his mother, he is left in the permanent care of two kind souls in Brekkubø. There, he grows up amongst strange chaps and fragile folk, who all seem to depend on the "grandfather" and the "grandmother".
The novel follows the bright and sensitive boy up into his adolescence, the threshold to adulthood, when he ventures out into the world in order to learn the art of singing.
This novel, which was written by Halldór Laxness in his best years, the fifties, revolves around the most pathetic thing of all - to fool people and harbour a life of lies - and the most beautiful, the good-natured human who demands nothing of others, but gives freely what it can.