The Old Man and His Sons
First Sentence: A school of blackfish is in Seyrvágs Fjord – two or three hundred small whales, swimming silently round in little groups, and longing to be back in the broad ocean again, for this is not the way they intended to go.
Back of the Book:
These are the Faroe Islands as they were some fifty years ago: sea-washed and remote, with one generation still tied to the ocean for sustenance, and a younger generation turning towards commerce and clerical work in the towns.
Following the blood, foam and fury of a whale kill, the normally cautious Ketil finds himself caught up in the frenzy of post celebrations, enthusiastically bidding for more meat than he can afford. Thus in his seventieth year, Ketil and his wife, along with their youngest son, struggle to repay their debt. Forced to accept the brutal reality of their precarious existence, they scavenge for driftwood and stranded seals.
Vibrating with a spirit, almost at times a savagery, that recalls ancient Viking sagas, The Old Man and His Sons deftly captures a vanishing way of life.
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Last Sentence: Before anyone was afoot the next morning, Ketil and Kálvur left the house, taking their cow with them.
I prefer Sjón…