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Heðin Brú was the penname of Hans Jacob Jacobsen, a Faroese novelist and translator.
Heðin Brú is considered to be the most important Faroese writer of his generation and is known for his fresh and ironic style. His novel, Feðgar á ferð (The Old Man and His Sons), was chosen as the Book of the twentieth century by the Faroese.
Like many of his countrymen, Jacobsen worked as a fisherman in his early years. After two seasons, he left to study agriculture in Denmark. When he returned to the Faroes, he worked as an agricultural advisor—a job that took him to all parts of the country. The contacts he made with ordinary village people he met during this time had a lasting effect on his writing.
In 1930, his first novel, Lognbrá, which tells the story of a young man growing up in a Faroese village, was published. In 1935, its sequel, Fastatøkur, in which the young man works as a fisherman on a sloop, followed. Both of these books were translated into Danish in 1946 and published under the title Høgni.
Feðgar á ferð, Brú's most famous work, was published in Faroese in 1940, in Danish in 1962 (Fattigmandsære), in German in 1966 (Des armen Mannes Ehre, a translation of the Danish title), and in English in 1970 under the title of The Old Man and his Sons. This was his first novel to be translated from Faroese into English. It tells the tale of the transformation of a rural society into a modern nation of fisheries and the conflicts between generations that result. In 1963, he satirised the Faroese politics of the interwar period in his novel Leikum fagurt. His Men livið lær (1970) describes a Faroese village around 1800, and his Tað stóra takið of 1972 describes a similar village around a century later. While writing these novels, Heðin Brú also wrote three collections of novellas and translated two Shakespeare plays (Hamlet and The Tempest). Until his death, he translated many pieces of world literature into Faroese. Between 1959 and 1974, he published a six-volume collection of Faroese fairy tales, Ævintýr I – VI (with illustrations by Elinborg Lützen). This is considered to be the standard work on the subject.
Denmark. Faroe Islands, 1988, Heðin Brú
Denmark. Faroe Islands, 2007, «The Old Man and His Sons»