Edvard Hoem’s great-grandfather was called Knut Hansen Nesje, but everyone just called him Nesje. This novel begins outside Molde in 1874 where Nesje, a widower of two years with a son to take care of, is working as a haymaker. Then Serianna comes along. She smokes a pipe and takes him fishing for pollock, and they fall in love. Soon they get married and have children.
Just like Nesje and Serianna, most people live a life of hard work connected to the earth and fjord. But a new option is opening up – more and more people are selling the few things they own and making the dangerous and exciting trip to America. Serianna’s sister, Gjertine, dreams of going, even though she is still young. News comes from the three Stavig brothers who are now living "over there" of an indescribably beautiful landscape with strange animals, and the hard work involved in setting up your own farm. Nesje is all grown up with five children and thinks he should stay where he is.
Nesje still doesn’t have his own farm, and when a childless couple from Bortegården farm shows an interest in his son, Anton Edvard, Nesje doesn’t see any other option than ensuring his son’s future by letting them have him. The loss of his son has a profound effect on him.
A Haymaker in Heaven is an inspired and moving novel about new and old landscapes, work, pride and love, being willing to take risks and making big sacrifices.