I have a few of my favorite books that I keep reading and rereading. These are usually the kind of books in which plot and action are less important than the beauty of language and the emotions they evoke. The Journey Home by the marvelous Icelandic author, Olaf Olafsson, is one of these works. It doesn’t matter that I know the story by heart. Each time I read it, it moves and delights me anew.
THE JOURNEY HOME deals with several journeys: the physical journey that Disa, a sensitive and tenacious woman, is compelled to take to her home country, Iceland. She lives in England where she runs a country inn together with Anthony, her friend and companion. It’s also about an emotional journey, a painful and joyous journey into the past, a journey of memories of the conflict with her mother, of the destiny of her German-Jewish lover, of the fateful happenings in the family of her former employer.
This is a beautifully written, lyrical, meditative novel full of wondrous moments. A quiet novel, yet there is tension, a tension that leads, in the end, to an emotional climax. Every time I read it, I enjoy it more. Every time I read it, I discover more nuances. And every time I read it, I end up crying through the last few chapters.