Saturday, 2 October 2010

Halldor Laxness - Independent People

Not sure how this little (or big) beauty passed me by for so long. Once digested, Halldor Laxness' Independent People certainly doesn't flitter away into ambiguity easily, carving out its distinctive narrative through oft-exquisitely descriptive, and sometimes harsh, prose. In a nutshell it is the story of Bjartus, an Icelandic sheep farmer, and his struggle for financial and spiritual independence for his family and flock. This book is epic in the true sense of the word and unravels in timeless expanses, intermingling Icelandic folklore, mysticism, seasonal cycles and rudimentary family life in the sometimes bleak and harsh landscapes. Many similarities with Hamsun's Growth of the Soil.

“SLOWLY, slowly winter day opens his arctic eye. From the moment when he gives his first drowsy blink to the time when his leaden lids have finally opened wide, there passes not merely hour after; no, age follows age through the immeasurable expanses of the morning, world follows world, as in the visions of a blind man, reality follows reality, and is no more – the light grows even brighter”.

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