Stefansson-1
2015 Longlist

The Sorrow of Angels

Translated from the original Icelandic by Philip Roughton
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ABOUT
THE BOOK

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.

 

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Jón
Kalman Stefánsson

Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s novels have been nominated three times for the Nordic Council Prize for Literature and his novel Summer Light, and then Comes the Night received the Icelandic Prize for Literature in 2005. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious P.O. Enquist Award. He is perhaps best known for his trilogy – Heaven and Hell, The Sorrow of Angels (longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) and The Heart of Man (winner of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize) – and for Fish Have No Feet (longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017

Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s novels have been nominated three times for the Nordic Council Prize for Literature and his novel Summer Light, and then Comes the Night received the Icelandic Prize for Literature in 2005. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious P.O. Enquist Award. He is perhaps best known for his trilogy – Heaven and Hell, The Sorrow of Angels (longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) and The Heart of Man (winner of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize) – and for Fish Have No Feet (longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Philip
Roughton

Philip Roughton is an award-winning translator of Icelandic literature. He earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with specialties in medieval Icelandic, medieval Chinese, and Latin literature, and wrote his dissertation on medieval Icelandic translations of saints’ and apostles’ lives. He has taught modern and world literature at CU-Boulder, and medieval literature at the University of Iceland. His translations include works by many of Iceland’s best-known writers, including the Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness, Jón Kalman Stefánsson, Bergsveinn Birgisson, Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, and others. He was awarded the 2015 American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Competition Prize, for his translation of Halldór Laxness’ novel Gerpla (Wayward Heroes), the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize for 2016, for his translation of Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s The Heart of Man, and an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship for 2017.

Philip Roughton is an award-winning translator of Icelandic literature. He earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with specialties in medieval Icelandic, medieval Chinese, and Latin literature, and wrote his dissertation on medieval Icelandic translations of saints’ and apostles’ lives. He has taught modern and world literature at CU-Boulder, and medieval literature at the University of Iceland. His translations include works by many of Iceland’s best-known writers, including the Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness, Jón Kalman Stefánsson, Bergsveinn Birgisson, Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, and others. He was awarded the 2015 American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Competition Prize, for his translation of Halldór Laxness’ novel Gerpla (Wayward Heroes), the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize for 2016, for his translation of Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s The Heart of Man, and an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship for 2017.

NOMINATING LIBRARY 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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
05/02/2015
Publisher
MacLehose
Translator
Philip Roughton
Translation
Translated from the original Icelandic by Philip Roughton

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