The Sacrament

The Sacrament Details

The haunting, vivid story of a nun whose past returns to her in unexpected ways, all while investigating a mysterious death and a series of harrowing abuse claims

A young nun is sent by the Vatican to investigate allegations of misconduct at a Catholic school in Iceland. During her time there, on a gray winter’s day, a young student at the school watches the school’s headmaster, Father August Franz, fall to his death from the church tower.

Two decades later, the child—now a grown man, haunted by the past—calls the nun back to the scene of the crime. Seeking peace and calm in her twilight years at a convent in France, she has no choice to make a trip to Iceland again, a trip that brings her former visit, as well as her years as a young woman in Paris, powerfully and sometimes painfully to life. In Paris, she met an Icelandic girl who she has not seen since, but whose acquaintance changed her life, a relationship she relives all while reckoning with the mystery of August Franz’s death and the abuses of power that may have brought it on.

In The Sacrament, critically acclaimed novelist Olaf Olafsson looks deeply at the complexity of our past lives and selves; the faulty nature of memory; and the indelible mark left by the joys and traumas of youth. Affecting and beautifully observed, The Sacrament is both propulsively told and poignantly written—tinged with the tragedy of life’s regrets but also moved by the possibilities of redemption, a new work from a novelist who consistently surprises and challenges.

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Title:The Sacrament
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780062899873
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    The Sacrament Reviews

  • Beata

    The Sacrament took me by surprise. I loved the way the story is told, going backwards and forwards although following the plot required a lot of concentration. This was a slow read for me, there was n...

  • *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    This story takes place in both Paris and Iceland in dueling time frames. The main character Sister Johanna grew up as Pauline before she became a nun. As a teenager, she found that unlike her friends,...

  • Tammy

    A sophisticated novel told from the perspective of an elderly nun trying her best to enjoy her golden years tending to her roses and beloved dog. Her past comes back with a vengeance when she is requi...

  • Diane S ?

    3.5 Dark and bleak, is this story of a young woman who struggles with a sexual orientation condemned by the Catholic Church. Going back and forth in time and alternating between Paris and Iceland, the...

  • Liz

    I love mysteries that deal with different places. Here, we are transported to Iceland. A French Catholic sister is sent to Iceland to investigate a charge of abuse against two school boys. Why does th...

  • Barbara

    Sometimes I think the audio version of a novel makes the story better because of the talent of the narrator. The Sacrament by Olaf Olafsson, narrated by Jane Copland is one of those novels that shine ...

  • Selena

    I received a free e-copy of The Sacrament by Olaf Olafsson from NetGalley for my honest review. Sister Johann is asked to travel to Iceland and investigate an alleged sexual crime between a priest and...

  • Connie G

    While a young boy looks on, a priest falls to his death from the bell tower of the church. Sister Johanna, a French nun, had been sent to Iceland to investigate charges of abuse of school boys. (She w...

  • eyes.2c

    Intense Nordic drama!A boy locked in a school's broom closet views something strange out of the window.A Catholic nun whose locked away her own secrets, including the reasons for her not quite belongi...

  • Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)

    I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!DNF at 35%Well, here we are. I thought this would have a lot of promise -- an Icelandic Catholic nun investigating abuse charges in th...