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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    A Masterpiece

    This book is iconic: it will be read by people in a hundred years time and beyond that as well, and not only in Iceland. It is a long book, number of pages mid six hundreds, but it did not seem long. It is a story of a very hard land with an unforgiving climate in a very hard time. There are incidents in the narrative that leave one disgusted, annoyed, irritated and saddened, but all this emotional reaction is carried along in the stream of exceptional writing. The intricate descriptions of the land and the seasons can only come from the heart of a person who really does love Iceland. They are so vivid, so realistic that they scream authenticity. The central character, Bjartur of Summerhouses, is both complex and straightforward. Throughout the narrative the depiction of this character is unerringly consistent: for me a highlight of the book. Love him or hate him you know what you are dealing with. Alongside there is Asta Sollilja. Asta Sollilija brings home in no uncertain terms that in hard conditions one of the worst things that can befall a human being is to be born female. I almost wept for her in so many places. This is a hard, hard story and it makes one give up on human nature but the way it is written is so compelling that I was drawn into it. As I was reading I was hoping that it would never end; come what may I wanted it to go on forever. But of course it did not. Any reader of literature who considers reading this book but does not has done themselves a grave and unforgivable disservice.
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