Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

Prophets of Eternal Fjord: Book summary and reviews of Prophets of Eternal Fjord by Kim Leine

Prophets of Eternal Fjord

by Kim Leine

Prophets of Eternal Fjord by Kim Leine X
Prophets of Eternal Fjord by Kim Leine
Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

From the swarming streets of Copenhagen to the frozen villages of Greenland, The Prophets of Eternal Fjord is a grand, magisterial story of epic proportion. Earning rave reviews and scores of readers across the world, Kim Leine's masterpiece - sweeping across the sea in a whaler and scurrying, panicked, from the Great Fire of 1795 - arrives on American shores erupting with pathos, lust, faith lost and found, and a cast of characters clinging to life amidst persecution and calamity.

Idealistic, foolhardy Morten Falck, the hapless hero, is a newly ordained priest sailing to Greenland in 1787 to convert the Inuit to the Danish church. He's rejected the prospect of a sleepy posting in a local parish and instead departs for the forsaken Sukkertoppen colony, where he will endeavor to convert the locals. A town battered by unremittingly harsh winters and simmering with the threat of dissent, it is a far cry from the parish he envisioned; natives from neighboring villages have unified to reject colonial rule and establish their own settlement atop Eternal Fjord. A bumbling and at times terrifically destructive mix of Shakespeare's Falstaff and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Arthur Dimmesdale, he's woefully ill prepared to confront this new sect. Torn between his instinctive compassion for the rebel congregation perched atop Eternal Fjord and his duty to the church, Falck is forced to decide where he belongs. His exploits in this brutal backwater include an accidental explosion after a night curled around a keg, a botched surgery, a love affair with a solitary and fatalistic widow, and an apprenticeship with an eager young scholar that ends in tragedy.

Based on authentic events in the 1780s and '90s, The Prophets of Eternal Fjord moves from the quiet rooms of the Copenhagen bourgeoisie to the stark, hardscrabble village of the Fjord where Falck finds himself surprisingly at home. Kim Leine's textured, earthy prose evokes the sting of the cold, the itch of the wool, and the burn of the roughest swig of aquavit. In gritty detail, Leine reveals the corrosive effects of colonial rule?both on the colonized, bitterly ground down as they are, and on the colonizers, compromised and corrupted by their baseless power.

In rich, Dickensian descriptions, Leine charts the tragic events that intertwine seemingly disparate lives, illuminating the brutal and tender impulses of those seeking redemption and the shifting line between religion and mysticism. The Prophets of Eternal Fjord is a visceral panorama of a fragile colony caught in the throes of history, marking the American debut of a major international writer.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A pensive, provocative, altogether extraordinary novel of a small-scale clash of cultures and its tragic consequences. Leine, who won the Nordic Council Literature Prize for this elegant epic, is a poet of Arctic places, conjuring just the right descriptions with economical prose." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. A seamless translation of an award-winning novel." - Booklist

"[The Prophets of Eternal Fjord] is composed of echoes, polyphony, and a playful approach to temporality and geography…The result is symphonic: politics, history, sexuality, and religion are always interwoven. The combination is perfectly balanced, fascinating, and irresistible." - Le Monde (France)

"This is truly an original and incredible achievement, a majestic story set in an impenetrable country…The Prophets of the Eternal Fjord is challenging, striking, sometimes brutal, sometimes elegiac, in other moments discreet and classical. It transcends all genres." - La Repubblica (Italy)

"A gripping, well-composed, moving and carefully planned novel…A milestone, a masterpiece." - Information (Denmark)

"[A] magnificent novel; one shields oneself from the fire and huddles up against the ice." - Weekendavisen (Denmark)

"The stark richness of Kim Leine's Greenland holds reader as firmly as character, scrabbling for a hope in a time and place that refuses to give it, showing us more of our own world than we might expect to find on these long-ago shores and in such sharp relief we cannot look away." - Steve Himmer, author of Fram

"By turns achingly beautiful and woefully tragic, noble and grotesque, Leine guides the reader with a sure hand through treacherous sea voyages, the hardships of colony life, starvation, cold, great fires in which it seems the world will end, and the utter bafflement of human souls simply trying to find their way through life ... historical fiction earns the word epic from its very first page." - Lance Weller, author of Wilderness

This information about Prophets of Eternal Fjord was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Kim Leine

Kim Leine has won the Nordic Council Literature Prize and the Danish booksellers' Golden Laurel award. His books have been published all around the world, and he lives in Denmark.

Martin Aitken is an acclaimed translator of Danish literature. Recent books include works by Dorthe Nors, Peter Høeg, and Helle Helle. He lives in rural Denmark.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more historical fiction...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Bewilderment
    by Richard Powers
    In 2019, Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory, a sprawling novel whose characters...
  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Dinosaurs
    by Lydia Millet

    "Tender but never sentimental, wearing its intelligence in a low-slung style, Dinosaurs is a garden of earthly delights."—Vogue

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Bell in the Lake
by Lars Mytting
The engrossing epic novel - a #1 bestseller in Norway - of a young woman whose fate plays out against her village's mystical church bells.
Who Said...

Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.