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Independent People by Halldor Laxness
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Independent People

by Halldor Laxness

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,099684,665 (4.19)3 / 391
  1. 20
    Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun (chrisharpe)
  2. 31
    The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell (thorold)
    thorold: Icelandic peasants to English house painters might not be such an obvious leap, but these two books, one artful and structured, the other naive and direct, both do a great job of showing us capitalism from the bottom.
  3. 00
    The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg (harmen)
    harmen: Similar setting and themes.
  4. 11
    The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (rwjerome)
    rwjerome: These books share surprisingly similar main characters who both experience extreme misfortune. Interestingly enough, both books also showcase slightly misplaced political overtones.
  5. 00
    Gunnar's Daughter by Sigrid Undset (DieFledermaus)
  6. 00
    The Old Man and His Sons by Heðin Brú (rrmmff2000)
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English (63)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
Way back when. My wife and went to our prominent local bookseller over the holidays in 2003. She asked me if I had read anything by Laxness and I adroitly responded, "who?" She bought something else and the following day I jogged down to the public library. My face burning with shame I checked this out from the stacks and returned home. I read such over two days. Jonsson the sheep farmer is everyman and he's screwed. Modernity arrives along with a nascent globalization. Never razor sharp, the farmer does possess a tradition and a rustic skill set. I loved that. Ultimately it may be a meditation on living in a bleak landscape: such is helpful in Indiana. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Very Icelandic. Lots of sheep farming. It started very strong, but petered off toward the end. Too Icelandic for me. ( )
  breic | Dec 14, 2018 |
Finished this book set in Iceland. A story of the struggling Icelandic people who were self standing people. I think what I appreciated most about his book is the way it captured the Scandinavian way. It is a story set in the early years of the 20th century and is epic and it reminded me a lot of Hamson's Growth of Soil. The stubbornness and stoicism is so accurately depicted and being Scandinavian and married to a Scandinavian, this book rang so true. It also touches on the Saga's which I have heard about and so that was also interesting and the descriptions of Christianity in this isolated country of Iceland and it's peasant people was another aspect of the book that I found interesting. ( )
  Kristelh | Aug 5, 2018 |
Amazing, engaging epic. It both broke and healed my heart. ( )
  FoxTribeMama | Aug 26, 2017 |
Wow, it’s one of those books that you don’t want to end, want it to go on and on. It is the story of Bjartur of Summerhouses, a man of the moors, sheep and ancient Icelandic poetry. Set around 1900, Bjartur of Summerhouses and his family struggle to make their small croft thrive, through Iceland’s harsh winters, personal tragedies and the desire to be independent, free people.

I absolutely loved it and have already added more of Halldór Laxness’ books to my reading list. Top notch, I recommend it. ( )
  solitaryfossil | Aug 11, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Halldor Laxnessprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craigmyle, AntheaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kress, BrunoÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leithauser, BradIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leithauser, BretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Myklebost, ToneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nix, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otten, MarcelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seelow, HubertAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sigureir SigurjónssonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson, J.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In early times, say the Icelandic chronicles, men from the Western Islands came to live in this country, and when they departed, left behind them crosses, bells, and other objects used in the practice of sorcery.
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The history of the centuries in this valley is the history of an independent man who grapples barehanded with a spectre which bears a new and ever a newer name. Sometimes the spectre is some half-divine fiend who lays a curse on his land. Sometimes it breaks his bones in the guise of a norn. Sometimes it destroys his croft in the form of a monster. And yet, always, to all eternity, it is the same spectre assailing the same century after century.
"No," he said defiantly.
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In an epic set in Iceland in the early twentieth century, Gudbjartur Jonsson buys his own croft after eighteen years of service to the local bailiff, and brings his wife and his small flock of sheep there to build a new, independent life for himself.

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