About the Size of the Universe
By Jón Kalman Stefánsson
The second novel in a poetic, elemental yet modern Icelandic family saga spanning the whole of Iceland's 20th-century history, by the country's most distinguished and distinctive contemporary writer
At the beginning of this story there is death, and yet it is a celebration of life - the lives of many generations of Ari's family - of the passion between a man and a woman, forbidden love, violence, sorrow, betrayal and depression. Happiness and misfortune are passed down from one generation to the next - the sorrow over what was and what might have been weighs heavily on the characters - and at the end of this chain, for now, stands Ari, on his way to his dying father, with a score still to be settled.
The raw beauty of life is written into the dramatic Icelandic landscape, and into a society that has undergone great transformation within a century. In language both archaic and lyrical, and yet entirely contemporary, piercingly melancholic and yet refreshingly full of humour, Jón Kalman Stefánsson proves himself to be one of the finest European writers of his generation.
A companion volume to Fish Have No Feet (longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017).
Translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton
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).
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- Publication date:
22 Feb 2018
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Stefánsson's prose rolls and surges with oceanic splendour. — Boyd Tonkin, Spectator.
A wonderful, exceptional writer . . . A timeless storyteller. — Carsen Jensen