Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £27.19

Buy Now for £27.19

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

The “captivating’’ and “powerful’’ story (Publishers Weekly, starred review) of one man who banishes himself to a solitary life in the Arctic Circle and is saved by good friends, a loyal dog, and a surprise visit that changes everything, in a novel that is both “ceaselessly brilliant’’ (Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Orphan Master’s Son) and “pure delight’’ (Christina Baker Kline, number one best-selling author of Orphan Train)

Number one Indie Next pick 

Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

In 1916, Sven Ormson leaves a restless life in Stockholm to seek adventure in Svalbard, an Arctic archipelago where darkness reigns four months of the year and he might witness the splendor of the Northern Lights one night and be attacked by a polar bear the next. But his time as a miner ends when an avalanche nearly kills him, leaving him disfigured, and Sven flees even further, to an uninhabited fjord. There, with the company of a loyal dog, he builds a hut and lives alone, testing himself against the elements.

The teachings of a Finnish fur trapper, along with encouraging letters from his family and a Scottish geologist who befriended him in the mining camp, get him through his first winter. Years into his routine isolation, the arrival of an unlikely visitor salves his loneliness, sparking a chain of surprising events that will bring Sven into a family of fellow castoffs and determine the course of the rest of his life.

Written with wry humor and in prose as breathtaking as the stark landscape it evokes, The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven is a testament to the strength of our human bonds, reminding us that even in the most inhospitable conditions on the planet, we are not beyond the reach of love.

©2021 Nathaniel Ian Miller (P)2021 Little, Brown & Company

Critic reviews

"Briskly entertaining . . . I was reminded more than once of Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News . . . combines a distinctive northerly setting with a cast of likable eccentrics . . . Rather than any creed or belief system, it is Sven’s various friendships, intense but understated, that sustain him and give his life an order and purpose.”—Ian McGuire, New York Times Book Review

Transporting and wholly original . . . this modern-day Call of the Wild is funny, moving, and ceaselessly compelling.”—People (Book of the Week)

Ceaselessly brilliant as an arctic sun, The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven illuminates the very nature of human yearning and perseverance. In attempting to inhabit the uninhabitable, one man shows us that no place is inhospitable to the human heart, and in delivering this searing portrait, Nathaniel Ian Miller ascends to the firmament of today’s most exciting young novelists.”—Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Orphan Master’s Son

More from the same

What listeners say about The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven

Average customer ratings

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cathy Sumeracki
  • Cathy Sumeracki
  • 10-01-22

Stick with it

This is a book you have to stick with. The beginning is hard to follow and the dry delivery can be painful but it is worth it. It occurs to me this is purposeful as this is how it would be to meet Sven in real life. He is inaccessible and with that, boring but curious. As the book progresses, he becomes a remarkable person and the characters are equally remarkable. This turned out to be a masterpiece for me! 8 commend the publishers for sticking with this and seeing the beauty of the work and the perfect choice of orator.

44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Colin OH
  • Colin OH
  • 28-10-21

Absolutely fantastic!

What a delight this novel was! Nathaniel Miller is definitely topping my list of new voices to pay closer attention to. Plus the narration by Olafur Darri Olafsson couldn’t be better!
I truly enjoyed every moment and I haven’t felt that way about an audiobook in a year or two at least.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for CM Mcdaniel
  • CM Mcdaniel
  • 02-01-22

wonderful narration

Oh I loved the first 1/2 of this book! I was swept away by the characters and absolutely captivated by the writer's descriptions of arctic geography and natural history. It may be due to my New Year's Day binge reading, but as more characters were introduced and the plot strayed from Sven, Olga, Charles, Tapio and Eberhard I found my interest waning just a bit.
Still, I loved Sven and this story of growth, resilience, and the power of human connection.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jenny M.
  • Jenny M.
  • 14-12-21

Fantastic and absorbing.

Everything about this book is exactly what I wanted and more. Unique yet entirely relatable characters. Incredible writing and storytelling. Depth of humanity, misery, and grit that makes the bleak winter months in the U.S. seem like a tropical getaway. The writing stands alone, but the narration is the best I’ve ever heard, hands down. Highly recommend.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for jlf
  • jlf
  • 29-05-22

Fictionalized Memoir

Amazing narrator who added so much to the book. Characters that you couldn't help but love and feel for.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Heidi M. Funk
  • Heidi M. Funk
  • 26-05-22

Walk the Arctic with Sven!

I found myself embedded in this story and engaging my mind so thoroughly that I feel that I know Sven or very much wish I did! This grabbed my psyche and my heart snd it touched me like Call of the Wild!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ryan Devine
  • Ryan Devine
  • 02-11-21

Outstanding

This book has to be one of the best for the year 2021. I highly recommend listening to it.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Suzanne-Marie
  • Suzanne-Marie
  • 29-06-22

Unique, Unexpected, Excellent!

The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven was unlike any book I’ve ever read or listened to in my past of thousands of books: the setting(s), the protagonist, other characters…the general storyline…All like nothing I’d read.
And, to listen to this gifted narration by Olaf Darri Olafsson as he reads this story in his deep, well-enunciated, enjoyable and unique voice, well, it all works together magically.

There is nothing about this story nor it’s setting to ingratiate it to me on a “normal” basis: no romance (to speak of; very different); no mystery nor intricate threads of family history or intrigue to unravel; not even a main female character with whom I’d usually be able to relate; no pretty settings nor cozy ambiance; no modern day “who-done-it” in an intriguing or familiar setting. But, I loved this book in all of it’s unlikely harshness and matter of fact characterizations of place, people!

With all of this, it is a story of soul, of subtle carings and important human and animal relationships, of human seeking for our places in this world, of friendships, of love and respect, of passions and weaknesses that are found not in many of the “usual”, relatable ways we might seek commonly in stories.

This is a story of human beings and adventure in an interesting, relatively subtle, definitely out-of-the-common-paths setting and wedge of its history. There is harshness of place, of events — but none without reason — or heart. In fact this is pivotal to Stockholm Sven and his memoirs.

I highly recommend it for any gender of reader as long as the above appeals to them.
I’ll be reading — listening to this marvelously narrated, excellent story — again. A classic as far as I’m concerned. I highly recommend!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Blaine
  • Blaine
  • 28-06-22

Beyond Superb

I’m not entirely sure how this even ended up in my library, but I have been nothing less than transformed and left with a great longing for more of this story. More of these people. More of this land. More, more, more.

Well out of my normal range of listening, I was transfixed from the beginning by both the sparse and intense writing as well as the flawless narration. Combined, these elements mix with unending grace and unnerving clarity to provide a thoroughly enjoyable - and transforming - experience.

Hearty congratulations to the talented author, as well as the fantastic narrator of this frigid tale that brims with warmth, and humanness.

This will be a repeat listen for certain. I loved everything single thing about it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mark
  • Mark
  • 27-06-22

slow but interesting story

The first half of this novel was very slow but I liked the originality of the time and place (early 20th century, very Northern Europe). Sven was an intriguing character, but he was hard to really know or care too much about. One-eyed and disfigured from an accident, he was a curious character who attempted to live an isolated life in the arctic. For some reason, I did not quit, and by the second half, this novel picked up a lot and grew much more interesting. By the end, I found myself thinking of this story even when I was not listening. More characters came into the story, ones I cared about. In short, this novel required work, but for me, the payoff was there. The narrator was great!