Nominated by:

Openbare Bibliotheek Brugge, Belgium

Borgarbókasafn Reykjavíkur, Iceland

Publisher of nominated edition:

MacLehose, UK

The Sorrow of Angels

Jón Kalman Stefánsson      

Translated from the original Icelandic by Philip Roughton

2015 Longlist

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 Bárður. Three weeks, but already Bárður’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.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Jón Kalman Stefánsson was born in Reykjavik in 1963. His novels have been nominated three times for the Nordic Council Prize for Literature (2001, 2004, 2007) and his novel Summer Light and Then Comes the Night received the Icelandic Prize for Literature in 2005.

About the Translator

Philip Roughton is the translator of, among others, the works of Halldór Laxness and The Islander, a biography of Laxness by Halldór Gudmundsson. He lives and works in Reykjavik.

Librarians’ Comments

Timeless literary masterpiece set in the desolate Icelandic landscape. The chilling journey is written in an exquisite mournful language.

A tragic-comic, epic journey through Iceland’s snowy landscape. The second in a trilogy which began with Heaven and Hell, though all can be read independently. The trilogy is very popular among patrons of the library still.

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