William Heinesen started as a poet but reached the large audience as a novelist and short-story writer. He wrote in Danish – his mother was Danish – but the environments in his novels are Faroese, influenced by his upbringing in a trading house in Tórshavn. Many individuals march through his novels. They are eventful, and often a tinge of social-criticism runs through them.
The Good Hope is a historic novel taking place in the Faroe Islands in the 17th century. Its form is the epistolary novel. Letters written by the young Danish minister Peter Børresen to an older colleague depict urban life and power machinations in old Tórshavn. Despite the historical context, the story unfolds in a modern, multifaceted and reflective way. William Heinesen created a novel in the great European tradition of realism. It is instilled with humour and irony, in some instances reminiscent of writers like Charles Dickens and Thomas Mann.
“The Good Hope”, a novel from the Faroe Islands in the 17th century, provides a lush and colourful picture of a period of crisis in Nordic history, and also a universal tale of the struggle between justice and oppression.