But heaven is found in the words.
The reality of a village somewhere in northern Iceland in the 19th century is the perfect setting for such a contrast. When everything is as uncertain as it was back in those times, when darkness is all we have for a good half of the year and no matter how much we fight the cold, it will reach us eventually, we have to find other ways to warm ourselves.
In those cases, it’s okay to find solace in words. As long as we don’t rely solely on them, because of course “words are not enough and we become lost and die out in the heaths of life if we have nothing to hold but a dip pen.”
The story is simple and serves mostly as a background for the wonderful prose that carries the reader through this book. A boy loses his friend on a fishing expedition. A friend who was too busy memorizing lines from Paradise Lost to remember to bring his windbreaker along. The boy sets out to return the book to its owner so that later he can meet his friend in death.
But even though the choice between “life” and “death” might seem simple, everyone hesitates. Everyone trembles from time to time, looking over to the other side, wondering if the simple exit is the right exit. If it’s about time we leave this life we came to. And as complicated as life is, even “dying has its responsibilities.”
This is a book that will touch you if you allow yourself to be touched. It’s a book that will make you think, make you drop it halfway through to reflect on a passage you just read, it’s a book that will give you a new way of looking at the smallest things, and it’s a book that will motivate you.
Heaven is to be found in the words. But hell, well… “Hell is to be dead and to realize that you did not care for life while you had the chance to do so.”