Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Vergiffenis ” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.51  ·  Rating details ·  165 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Peter Peterson wordt achtervolgd door nachtmerries over de misdaad die hij meer dan een halve eeuw geleden meent te hebben gepleegd. Een daad die de rest van zijn leven heeft bepaald en overschaduwd. Zijn laatste levensjaren brengt hij door in New York, als mislukt echtgenoot en verbitterd vader. Zoals een moordenaar terugkeert naar de plaats delict, zo wordt Peterson teru ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published 2007 by Nieuw Amsterdam (first published August 1991)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Vergiffenis, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Vergiffenis

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I get in the mood for what I think of as a Nordic novel: brief, bleak, yet beautifully told. This absolutely fit the bill (though I doubt an Icelander would like to be thought of as Nordic).

This is one of those tales in which you find out what happened in the past when the narrator is ready to face up to the truth of it. Along the way, you're treated to an examination of the person's psychology, examples of the ways he or she has dealt with The Thing in the Past, or how it continues to
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unhappy elderly New York businessman is reflecting on his life in a series of papers intended for Gudrun, the woman who spurned his obsessive love when they were in college in Copenhagen at the beginning of WWIi. In chapters that alternate between the present and the past, Icelandic author Olaf Olafsson's paints a portrait of Peter Peterson, a miserable Scooge-like character who has mistreated his wives, children and business associates all in the pursuit of money. Gradually (perhaps too grad ...more
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melinda by:
A semi mystery. Through the entire book, the main character is telling his story of leaving Iceland, living in Denmark during WWWII, coming to America,etc. and some horrendous thing which no one else knows that he did. It appears that he killed someone, but we must wait until almost the last chaper to find out exactly what happened. As to why the actual author hid the manuscript which tells the story and thinks it should be hidden, I have yet to figure out.
E Mcleod
Feb 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I think this book is a very well-written character study. Olafsson is to be commended for his writing and psychological insight: and many would rate it more highly than I did here. It is fairly nihilistic however, and personally I did not enjoy this aspect. Reading it was a similar experience for me as watching De Niro in "Taxi Driver," except not pulled off quite as brilliantly as Scorsese/Schrader.
Not quite sure what to say......found it a bit hard to follow the storyline at times (and I've read many books that jump back and forth between the present and the past) and found the reading to feel "plodding along" in a way. Have other books O.O. has written and will at some point pick each of them up to read.
Glyn Smith-Wild
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compulsive reading it says on the front cover blurb. And it's true. This book held my attention from beginning to end. So many emotions, so many puzzles, so many twists and turns. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent writing. This was his first (in US) so clearly not as mature a novel as his most recent, but very good. Very lyrical really, and a poignant look at the way a misunderstood incident can shape a whole life of guilt, paranoia, selfishness, and regret.
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story kept me wondering what happened, what was his "little crime", until I started to worry about the narrator's mental health, then... Can't say any more. It was an unusual and very interesting read - hoping to find more books by this author to add to my reading list!
Mito Habe-Evans
Apparently it's the first book in English for this Icelandic author, and it's written so beautifully. Haunting and suspensful, but also just a really good character study of the making of a bitter old man. Olafsson manages to make me simultaneously despise and sympathize with this total asshole.
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'At sea, people are neither as they were at home nor as they will be at the end of the journey. The mind is altered. Those waving goodbye from a ship are transformed the moment they vanish from sight.'
Jan 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite among the Olafsson that I have already read, but an interesting read none-the-less.
Jul 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
very well written. Mysterious, at times depressing.
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Iclandic writer. This was great too. I know I give a lot of 5 star reviews but I am searching out great books and finding them, this is one of them. Highly recommend.
Julie Kerich
Couldn't get into it
rated it did not like it
Mar 04, 2010
rated it really liked it
Aug 30, 2007
rated it liked it
Aug 14, 2012
Nik Per
rated it liked it
Dec 06, 2012
Vera Savic
rated it really liked it
Jan 03, 2013
Morgan Christopher
rated it liked it
May 06, 2017
Uros Miljkovic
rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2013
Bogdan Panajotovski
rated it really liked it
Feb 10, 2017
Palina Bjornsdottir
rated it liked it
Apr 16, 2012
rated it really liked it
Nov 01, 2015
Lauren Paige  (woirds7)
rated it really liked it
Mar 24, 2014
rated it liked it
Jul 05, 2012
Caroline Vardigans
rated it really liked it
Apr 27, 2014
rated it really liked it
Oct 07, 2010
Leon Kuo
rated it it was ok
Dec 12, 2012
rated it it was ok
Oct 09, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Svartfugl
  • The Ambassador
  • Dreamland - A Self-Help manual
  • The Abomination
  • Iceland's Bell
  • Stained Glass Elegies
  • Last Places: A Journey in the North
  • Daybreak
  • Svar við bréfi Helgu
  • Season of the Witch (Einar, #4)
  • The Greenhouse
  • 101 Reykjavik
  • Nervous People and Other Satires
  • Into Oblivion (Inspector Erlendur)
  • DNA (Children's House #1)
  • South Of The River
  • The Invisible Writing
  • Confessions of a Fallen Standard-Bearer
Olaf Olafsson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1962. He studied physics as a Wien Scholar at Brandeis University. He is the author of three previous novels, The Journey Home, Absolution and Walking Into the Night, and a story collection, Valentines. His books have been published to critical acclaim in more than twenty languages. He is the recipient of the O. Henry Award and the Icelandic Literary ...more
More about Olaf Olafsson...