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    Station Eleven

    Emily St. John Mandel 9780385353304

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This title in other editions

Independent People

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Independent People Cover

ISBN13: 9780679767923
ISBN10: 0679767924
Condition: Underlined
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

"Independent People is epic and thorough, covering the sweep of generations as well as detailed hours ticking by during sleepless nights, ambling walks around the plains. It is a novel of contrasts, especially in its nuanced exploration of character: isolation and family; socialist ideals and the guilt of betrayal; symbol and dream against the brutal truth of nature."
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This magnificent novel — which secured for its author the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature — is at last available to contemporary American readers. Although it is set in the early twentieth century, it recalls both Iceland's medieval epics and such classics as Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter. And 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.

Review:

"Reader, rejoice! At last this funny, clever, sardonic and brilliant book is back in print. Independent People is one of my Top Ten Favorite Books of All Time." E. Annie Proulx

Review:

"[A] huge, skaldic treat filled with satire, humor, pathos, cold weather and sheep." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"I love this book. It is an unfolding wonder of artistic vision and skill — one of the best books of the twentieth century. I can't imagine any greater delight than coming to Independent People for the first time." Jane Smiley

Synopsis:

This magnificent novel—which secured for its author the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature—is at least available to contemporary American readers. Although it is set in the early twentieth century, it recalls both Iceland's medieval epics and such classics as Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter. And 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.

About the Author

Halldór Laxness was born near Reykjavík, Iceland, in 1902. His first novel was published when he wsa seventeen. The undisputed master of contemporary Icelandic fiction, and one of the outstanding novelists of the century, he has written more than sixty books, including novels, short stories, essays, poems, plays, and memoirs. In 1955 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1998.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

TKS, January 24, 2011 (view all comments by TKS)
My goodness this is a difficult read! It's not any one thing that makes it so; you can choose your favorite: remote characters, dense prose, bleak outlook, general unfamiliarity.

BECAUSE of all that, I was drawn in, figuring out what amounted to a sort of literary puzzle for me. And IN SPITE of all that, although I put the book down repeatedly, I couldn't bring myself to leave it lying there. A few hundred pages in, I realized I was enjoying the difficult slog immensely.

Side note: I read this before my first trip to Iceland, in an attempt to get a feel for the place and people. I wish I'd waited until my return. I intend to read the book again, and I'm willing to bet my thoughts will shift a bit.
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Jarred, January 4, 2011 (view all comments by Jarred)
Halldor Laxness is truly a great writer and Independent People is his greatest work. Laxness compares to the great Russian novelists in the way that he can take a terribly flawed character and make the reader feel a connection with them. Independent People tells the story of Bjartur of Summerhouses who is a poor sheepherder who is determined to be an independent person in a changing Iceland, even at the cost of his and his family’s happiness. I will admit that the book did not seem like it would be terribly exciting when I started reading it, but the more I read the more I felt connected to Bjartur and how amazed I was at Laxness’ ability to tell a story and develop characters. Independent People is not an easy read, but the readers will be well rewarded with this lost classic.
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gray-c, March 26, 2010 (view all comments by gray-c)
I picked up Independent People somewhat reluctantly (it was assigned by my book club), but within a very few pages found myself awakening to the recognition that this is simply one of the great books. It may be hard to imagine getting turned on by an Icelandic novel about sheep farmers, coffee, bad weather, and economic disaster, but Laxness makes us care, with his sardonic and affectionate perceptions of this small group of quirky, indomitable people. At the same time he rivets us, like Melville or Twain, with an absolutely unique and engaging voice. The political and ovine discussions among visiting sheepherders are simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, and Bjartur of Summerhouses is one of the most tragic, infuriating, and sympathetic characters ever invented. He’s a hard, implacable man, but a man who also has a deep love for Icelandic poetry and “a flower in his life” – a flower he eventually feels compelled to cut off. Around this excruciating struggle between a stubborn man and his loving but equally stubborn daughter Laxness brilliantly brings to life a cast of flawed but appealing rural characters and an intensely beautiful, pitiless natural landscape. The random attacks of sub-Arctic weather and disease (of both people and sheep) join with the inscrutable grinding of human markets to overwhelm the Icelandic crofters; and yet Laxness makes us believe that even amid the wreckage of dreams of independence and security, the precious pebbles of human love and loyalty stubbornly preserve their gleam.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780679767923
Author:
Laxness, Halldor
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Translator:
Thompson, J. a.
Introduction by:
Leithauser, Brad
Introduction:
Leithauser, Brad
Author:
Halldor Laxness
Author:
Laxness, Halldor Kiljan
Author:
Halldor
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Fathers and daughters
Subject:
Fiction (fictional works by one author)
Subject:
European - German
Subject:
Iceland
Subject:
Sheep ranchers
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Series Volume:
83
Publication Date:
19970131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
8 x 5.1 x 1 in 1.125 lb

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Award Winners
Featured Titles » Nobel Prize Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Independent People Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 512 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780679767923 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

"Independent People is epic and thorough, covering the sweep of generations as well as detailed hours ticking by during sleepless nights, ambling walks around the plains. It is a novel of contrasts, especially in its nuanced exploration of character: isolation and family; socialist ideals and the guilt of betrayal; symbol and dream against the brutal truth of nature."

"Review" by , "Reader, rejoice! At last this funny, clever, sardonic and brilliant book is back in print. Independent People is one of my Top Ten Favorite Books of All Time."
"Review" by , "[A] huge, skaldic treat filled with satire, humor, pathos, cold weather and sheep."
"Review" by , "I love this book. It is an unfolding wonder of artistic vision and skill — one of the best books of the twentieth century. I can't imagine any greater delight than coming to Independent People for the first time."
"Synopsis" by , This magnificent novel—which secured for its author the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature—is at least available to contemporary American readers. Although it is set in the early twentieth century, it recalls both Iceland's medieval epics and such classics as Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter. And 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.

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