I read this book’s Audible Macmillan audiobook edition. I’ll be reading the hardcover edition too. It’s a wonderful choice for an audiobook. The narra...moreI read this book’s Audible Macmillan audiobook edition. I’ll be reading the hardcover edition too. It’s a wonderful choice for an audiobook. The narrator, Morven Christie, is superb. I’d have never otherwise gotten the pronunciations correct if I’d read a paper edition, but I yearned to see what people and place names, and other words too, looked like on the page, and the hardcover edition has a map. I love maps in books. Not having maps is a real downside of audiobook editions, for me. My real world book club is going to be reading this in April and I’m going to be rereading it, and reading the hardcover edition. I enjoy being read to, but my current lifestyle isn’t conducive to audiobooks. I thought I’d be able to lie in bed and listen, but I often had to rewind by 30 seconds or more, too many times to count, and it turns out that I’m too sleep deprived to stay alert when at rest and listening to a book, even with black or green tea as an aid. I think I might be able to get into audiobooks if I ever regularly have at least an hour minimum sessions on treadmills or at least an hour uninterrupted in a car, things common in my past but not recently and not likely in my near future. I think with my current lifestyle the only way I’d read more audiobooks would be to simultaneously read a paper edition, but whatever word deviations occurred would drive me slightly nuts.
I was incredibly curious so I looked up information about the main character as I was reading, so I knew some of what to expect. This book stayed true to the real story. Of course, some of what was written had to be conjecture, but I bought the author’s theory, and naturally what the characters said was made up, but even a non-fiction wouldn’t have been able to provide that kind of information.
My opinion about capital punishment wasn’t changed one whit. I don’t think anything could change it, but this book strongly validated it.
The book is marvelous. I got an excellent feel for what Iceland was like circa early 1800s. It was almost too realistic. The sense of isolation and doom came right through the pages and wrapped itself around me. I literally kept turning up my heat as I couldn’t tolerate feeling physically cold while I was reading it.
It wasn’t the ideal book for me to read right now. I’m certainly glad I didn’t read it over the holidays. I enjoyed how it was told from the point of view of so many characters. I loved watching how certain characters’ attitudes and opinions changed over time.
The last chapter seemed a bit rushed to me but perhaps that was apropos.
I was shocked about how ever-present religion (Christianity) was in that time and place, how brutal life was for even the luckiest humans and animals, how survival itself was such arduous work.
The story is beautifully and skillfully written. I particularly enjoyed the exceptionally fine writing, made particularly impressive by the author’s fairly young age. I’m not surprised she’s getting her PhD. The characters are incredibly believable and the ways the reader gradually learns about them is exceptionally well done.
I know I’ll always remember Agnes. I’m glad I read the book. It’s an amazing book.
Despite all this I did consider giving it 4 stars, but given its excellence and the powerful effect it had on me, I can’t give it less than 5 stars.
I’m no longer finding reviewing much fun, and posting reviews in 4 places, along with other information such as shelves, and book editing at one place, well it all feels exhausting rather than enjoyable. Editing would take way too much effort, so I’m afraid my frequent typos and other mistakes will remain as is in virtually all my reviews. Ditto my omissions; I often think of more to say after I post a review but I think those things, however important they might feel to me, are going to have to remain unsaid.
I highly recommend the book and also strongly suggest readers have fun, amusing, or otherwise distracting things planned for after every reading session.(less)