Two hours north of Reykjavik, a village becomes a microcosm of the age-old conflict between human desire and destiny, as 400 inhabitants chase their dreams in the lingering light of an Icelandic summer. With humor, poetry, and tenderness for human weaknesses, Jon Kalman Stefansson explores the question of why we live, and in this winner of the Icelandic Prize for Literature, he introduces such characters as the Astronomer, who dreams in Latin; the widower Hannes, a police officer; and Helga, on the phone 40 hours a week just to listen to lonely people talk.
"The Icelandic Dickens…. [Stefansson] has the same gift of writing with great understanding, an empathy with troubled souls and a skill at laugh-out-loud comedy."—Irish Examiner