The Sorrow of Angels by Jon Kalman Stefansson

The Sorrow of Angels

The novel is described as depicting the struggle between man and nature. And, it is that. But, it is also about the struggle between man and himself, the way we wrestle with who we are, and really, is there any honorable thing inside of us that we can hang on to? It is one of the most important books I’ve read all year.

I am incredibly moved by the writing.

I am incredibly moved by the relationship between the postman and the boy, whom he accuses of talking too much, when the man speaks little if at all.

He is too busy with his thoughts, with his intention to survive the snow covered mountains of Iceland and his intention to figure out who he is. What he’ll do with the woman he’d die for, if only his body wouldn’t betray him.

We challenge ourselves against so many things that seem intent to get us down: cruel weather, life’s monotony, the fear of what we are against, or what we might become if left unchecked.

The Sorrow of Angels closes with Jens, the postman, and the boy flung headlong into space as they traverse back down the mountain. They have had to leave their important task behind, a dead woman whom they are transporting to consecrated ground, and we know not what will happen to them as we turn the last page.

But, we are secure in knowing that they have each other. They have a dauntless spirit. And they have what they learned while carrying the post to the southernmost tip of Iceland.

This is a book I will never forget. I loved it with all my heart.

Find Tony’s review here.

9 thoughts on “The Sorrow of Angels by Jon Kalman Stefansson”

  1. The fact that you loved this book with all your heart means that I will be getting myself a copy of it ASAP! In fact, I'm downloading it as soon as I finish posting this comment. I love when books speak to their readers in such a powerful way – the writing moved you and this is a book you won't forget (means that this is a must read!!). These types of books are my absolute favorite, because they are so rare 🙂


  2. I loved this one too and I'm so delighted to see it on our shadow-group shortlist. I just wish I'd had time to start with 'Heaven and Hell', the first part of the trilogy, but it's high on my list now.


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