It's basically about sheep and boiled fish, and snow, and being cold. Oh yes, and being free and independent .... to...moreI'm allowed not to like this book.
It's basically about sheep and boiled fish, and snow, and being cold. Oh yes, and being free and independent .... to take care of your sheep. And how to cross a river in the middle of the winter on the back of a running reindeer plus a lot of interesting facts about tapeworms, lungworms, how the bodies of beheaded newborn puppies start swimming when thrown in water, how reindeer blood makes prime sandwich meat and what a great meal rye bread with tallow and cod liver oil is.
According to one of the characters rich people are always sad and depressed whereas poor people are permanently happy. It might hold a certain amount of truth in this story since there is barely an extremely unhappy person there having in mind the miserable and bleak conditions they are forced to live in.
Needless to say, I didn't exactly like the main character Bjartur, there were time when I really felt like I wanted to punch him. His complete dedication to his sheep was preposterous, there wasn't anything that he wouldn't sacrifice for them, even leaving his wife to die alone giving birth so that he could go look for a missing sheep in the middle of the winter, a sheep that unbeknownst to him his wife had killed and eaten. I really enjoyed the part where, after the death of his wife when the pastor asked him whether he can help him with something Bjartur said that he doesn't need to know anything about his wife's death, just whether the reverend knew something about his missing sheep. I suppose sheep were a topic the clergyman enjoyed immensely since his view of them was that they were Devil creatures taking men away from God. But a sheep is a sheep and a book is a book as would Einar say, and I believe that sheep taking such a central role was not necessary in order to get the main idea through.
On a serious note, I do understand that the book is about being a free and independent person with enough amount of self-respect, not willing to sacrifice ideals, morals and having indomitable spirit. I am also well-aware of the fact that Halldór Laxness won a Nobel Prize and it's obvious that he is a skillful writer and that's why I finally decided to rate the book higher than I initially intended to. I suppose if I were Icelander, I might appreciate it more and understand it a little better, but I am not one and it wasn't a book that I particularly enjoyed. (less)
Well, it's no "Let the Right One in", but still great and original read, delivered by Lindqvist. His dark and grim writing is a breath of fresh air in...moreWell, it's no "Let the Right One in", but still great and original read, delivered by Lindqvist. His dark and grim writing is a breath of fresh air in the multitude of trivial and predictable paranormal books that are spurting out in numbers every day now.(less)