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Categories: Novels
Origin country: Iceland
Making up: Sonja Kjølbro
ISBN: 978-99972-1-496-6
Date of publication : 15. November 2022

Himmal og helviti

Jón Kalman Stefánsson

The book brings the reader into a small fishing village in the Westfjords a good hundred years ago, a place where tough men set sails in the daytime to fight nature itself. The story introduces us to a young, nameless man, referred to simply as "the boy", and to his friend, Bárður. They sail together on the same boat.

The pair stand out completely from other sailors because they allow themselves to forget the fight for life by diving into literature. The boy wants something greater than the misery of a fisherman's life. His mind wanders merrily and he yearns to learn languages and expand his horizons.

When they are out fishing one day, a storm suddenly breaks out. Even though the sweaters are well fulled, they cannot keep out the freezing cold, and Bárður freezes to death out on the open sea. The boy is now alone in this world.

Pained by grief, he leaves the village intending to return the book "Paradise Lost" to its rightful owner. He has become apathetic because he has made up his mind to join his friend in death. But when he arrives in a town, he feels entranced by the life he finds there, and he decides that his reunion with his friend will have to wait a bit longer.

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