The author's excellent descriptions of Icelandic country life around World War II makes the setting the main character and my favorite part of this novel. It makes you feel that you know exactly how people lived at that time in that place.
I didn't care much for the protagonist, the sheep farmer Bjarni. Bjarni, as he nears the end of his life, seems to regret more that other people didn't do what he wanted rather than realize that perhaps he should have compromised a bit himself. He doesn't seem to care for his family at all but just for his own needs.