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Independent People

by Halldor Laxness

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,278754,642 (4.16)3 / 400
From the Nobel Prize-winning Icelandic author, a magnificent, epic novel--"funny, clever, sardonic and brilliant" (Annie Proulx)--at last available to contemporary American readers. Set in the early twentieth century, Independent People recalls both Iceland's medieval epics and such classics as Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter. If Bjartur of Summerhouses, the book's protagonist, is an ordinary sheep farmer, his flinty determination to achieve independence is genuinely heroic and, at the same time, terrifying and bleakly comic. Having spent eighteen years in humiliating servitude, Bjartur wants nothing more than to raise his flocks unbeholden to any man. But Bjartur's spirited daughter wants to live unbeholden to him. What ensues is a battle of wills that is by turns harsh and touching, elemental in its emotional intensity and intimate in its homely detail. Vast in scope and deeply rewarding, Independent People is a masterpiece.… (more)
  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 (69)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
Written as a pair with Pericles

Reading Smiley on the back cover of this book:

‘I can’t imagine any greater delight than coming to Independent People for the first time’ Really? I mean, REALLY????? Better than sex? Chocolate icecream??? What sort of life has Smiley lived that makes her say that. I couldn’t help thinking of this exchange on the comments of my Harry Potter review:

Brook: "I hav read every single book 14 times and i read an average of 200 books per year and have never read a better written book."

Manny: "Hey, talk about a run of bad luck! My commiserations."

And how on earth, of all the words to use of this book could you come up with ‘delight’? Conversation with Manny last week:

For the rest, here: http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/independent-people-by-laxn...
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Written as a pair with Pericles

Reading Smiley on the back cover of this book:

‘I can’t imagine any greater delight than coming to Independent People for the first time’ Really? I mean, REALLY????? Better than sex? Chocolate icecream??? What sort of life has Smiley lived that makes her say that. I couldn’t help thinking of this exchange on the comments of my Harry Potter review:

Brook: "I hav read every single book 14 times and i read an average of 200 books per year and have never read a better written book."

Manny: "Hey, talk about a run of bad luck! My commiserations."

And how on earth, of all the words to use of this book could you come up with ‘delight’? Conversation with Manny last week:

For the rest, here: http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/independent-people-by-laxn...
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Um impressionante retrato de um homem, da sua busca pela independência e um embate com a realidade dura. Bjartur foi um homem independente, mas também um homem subjugado pelas forças da sociedade. ( )
  dribaspt | May 20, 2020 |
seems good but its summer and i don't want to read about icelandic sheep farmers right now.
  Jetztzeit | May 15, 2020 |
Worth the extra effort ( )
1 vote Brumby18 | Dec 19, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laxness, Halldorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Craigmyle, AntheaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kress, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leithauser, BradIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Myklebost, ToneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nix, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otten, MarcelAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otten, MarcelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Posthumus, AnnieTranslatorsecondary 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.
Quotations
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.
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