The Sorrow of Angels (Jón Kalman Stefánsson)
The Sorrow of Angels is the second novel in an epic and elemental trilogy by the winner of the Icelandic Prize for...
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The Sorrow of Angels is the second novel in an epic and elemental trilogy by the winner of the Icelandic Prize for Literature Jón Kalman Stefánsson, and the follow up to Heaven and Hell (publishing in paperback 3/11/15.) The Sorrow of Angels continues to follow “the boy” who, after suffering a terrible loss at sea, stops at a small Icelandic village that will become his adopted home and his redemption. The book is a part of a trilogy, but as Susan Swarbrick wrote in The Herald Scotland, “If you haven’t read Heaven And Hell, the first in Reykjavik-born author Jon Kalman Stefansson’s captivating trilogy, that needn’t be a deterrent from falling head over heels in love with The Sorrow Of Angels.”
It is three weeks since the boy came to town, carrying a book of poetry to return to the old sea captain-the poetry Bár?ur died for. 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 Hamlet, Jens the postman stumbles in half-dead, having almost frozen to his horse. On his next journey to the fjords Jens 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 and powerful story that evokes the struggle of man against the ferocious majesty of nature. Asked by The Independent what inspired him to write these three novels, Stefánsson named his first visit to the landscape of Iceland’s West Fjords. “It was like a punch in the solar plexus . . . The mountains seemed to be saying, ‘Why aren’t you writing about us?” (Independent, 2013).