Paradiso e Inferno by Jón Kalman Stefánsson •
In a remote part of Iceland, a boy and his friend Barour join a boat to fish for cod. A winter storm surprises them out at sea and Barour, absorbed in “Paradise Lost”, succumbs to the ferocious cold and dies. Distraught from the murky circumstances of Barour’s death, the boy leaves the village, intending to return the book to its original owner. The extreme hardship and danger of the journey is of little consequence to him–he has already resolved to join his friend in death. But once in the town he immerses himself in the stories and lives of its inhabitants, and decides that he cannot be with his friend just yet.