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The Great Weaver from Kashmir

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  144 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
"[The protagonist's] grand, egotistical journey begins with art and ends with God, taking a path marked out by tormented disquisitions on all manner of existential questions."—New York Times Book Review

“Laxness brought the Icelandic novel out from the saga’s shadow. . . . To read Laxness is also to understand why he haunts Iceland—he writes the unearthly prose of a poet ca
Hardcover, 450 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Archipelago Books (first published 1927)
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Apr 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Read because I'm going to Iceland in the summer. I might try another of Laxness's books, but mainly because I wasn't the craziest over this one, and I am going to Iceland, after all. This was like a Hardy novel cut in half, only add 200 pages of the protagonist's philosophical and spiritual ramblings. There are some real ferocious parts to the book, but they are much fewer than the philosophical and spiritual nonsense that we use to look into the protagonist. I would recommend this to no one, bu ...more
Susan Skelly
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An amazing journey through the many souls of man.

Only Laxness can throw everything, including the kitchen sink, in and have it work.
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Because I want to go to Iceland.
And he understands how an utter ass can be the center of young girl's obsession.
Timothy Frasca
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Recognizably Laxness though spotty with some overlong digressions, but even in this first work the magic is there throughout.
Lindu Pindu
Sep 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is not a bad book. Trust me; I've been spoonfed Absolutes and the glorious decay of those who chase after it, as it were some inarguable national trait for Romanians blossoming on the pages of our national literature. After being steeped in that bullshit rhetoric, it is easy for me to see-- this book is quite the opposite.

This is an epic of an Icelandic family, taking place mainly on the continent, and making heavy use of the epistolary form (not as boring as it sounds). About the style: it
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: halldór-laxness
I pondered whether I in fact could find refuge anywhere on all of God’s green Earth, and whether there was in fact anyone whom I could now allow to look me in the face. And not a single living soul came to mind, not one single creature. [...] There come those times when a man actually has no friend at all! This anguish can cut one so quickly to the heart that no comfort can assuage it, no friendly handshake can shake it off, no smile can soothe it, no mother’s tears can wipe it clean, no lover’s ...more
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
'The Great Weaver from Kashmir' by Halldór Laxness was okay. The book is a translation so some of the poetry I was expecting in the writing may have been missed. At times I found the book slow and could have cheerfully skipped over several pages, especially during the beginning. Ultimately, the book is about a young man, Steinn who leaves Iceland for the continent in order to find himself and experience a better life away from Iceland and the demands of his family. Steinn never manages to grow u ...more
Oct 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
I wrote a long review with quotes that got deleted. Incredibly bizzare book about sums it up. But I cannot resist giving this one quote after all. "It is horrendous to be betrothed to a woman: one can't go for a refreshing walk in the cool of the evening, like the Lord, without having a whole side of female meat hanging on to one. And what's more, a man has to endure this infectious carcass in his bed at night, lying over him, smacking her lips and groaning in her sleep, puffing and snuffling." ...more
Gemma Alexander
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: iceland
Well. What an introduction to the author. I may have been as frustrated by some medieval Catholic saint-philosophers back in college as I was by The Great Weaver, but I doubt it. Those authors were easy to write off entirely as tedious, dogmatic, and ignorant. They were simply wrong. But Laxness was so obviously, undeniably brilliant. His words were stark and modern as Hemingway but with an elegance that would make your heart ache. As much as you might want to scream in frustration and throw the ...more
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
What an amazing book. This is not only a stunning literary work in and of itself, but it is also a great representation of all Icelandic literature has to offer. This groundbreaking author deserves two thumbs up for introducing the world to the Icelandic culture's precise detail and perfectly in-tune voice in modern world literature.

I am very much enjoying this introduction to a culture's contribution to world lit that I have not previously experienced.
Jul 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Laxness is one of my favorite authors. This was his first novel, and it reads like it was a first effort. At times it is boring...more a theological debate than a novel. And it is somewhat misogynistic which I don't recall in his later work. Perhaps I missed something. I appreciated his use of humor & irony which would become better developed later on. Definitely an important book for anyone interested in Laxness.
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
** I obtained this title due to Goodread's First Reads***
I enjoy a challenge of conquering a book that is considered a hard read. This book and I have been involved in a battle for quite some time, and well the book won. This book has some beautifully written passages and others that cause to me change topic and focus. I feel that I need to do more research and reading of Luxness before I try this title again.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Brilliantly telling line...15 pages of meandering on the soul's torments. Hilarious aside...12 pages on the failings of modern philosophy. Clever description...9 pages on Icelandic weather. And so forth.
Sep 22, 2009 is currently reading it
Remembering how to see the light behind the visage of other words, some people don't seek beauty because they bring it.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ástin, trúin og sannleikurinn.
Eric Hinkle
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4 1/2
Feb 04, 2010 rated it liked it
This book can be beautiful when it is not busy philsophising or moaning. disappointing as my first introduction to halldor laxness, though.
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
I tried, I really did, but I found the earnest search for Absolutes and the national and emotional stereotypes too tiresome.
May 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Overall I was not impressed with this book. I will admit that I was looking forward to this book. The description I had read led me to believe it was of a different nature.
rated it did not like it
May 11, 2011
Jóhann Páll
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May 13, 2012
Guðrún Jóhannsdóttir
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Aug 18, 2012
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Feb 10, 2013
Der Ubermolch
rated it it was ok
Apr 07, 2013
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Mar 13, 2015
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Jun 17, 2012
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Aug 20, 2011
Kristjan Torr
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Aug 05, 2015
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Born Halldór Guðjónsson, he adopted the surname Laxness in honour of Laxnes in Mosfellssveit where he grew up, his family having moved from Reyjavík in 1905. He published his first novel at the age of 17, the beginning of a long literary career of over 60 books, including novels, short stories, poetry, and plays. Confirmed a Catholic in 1923, he later moved away from religion and for a long time w ...more
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