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The Saga of Gisli the Outlaw

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  296 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
The Saga of Gisli was written early in the thirteenth century. It offers an imaginative reconstruction of the story of a man and his family who came to Iceland from Norway about AD 960. Soon after 960 Gisli, the central figure, was outlawed for killing his brother-in-law, and then, for thirteen years or more, he lived in hiding in remote parts of the northwest of Iceland u ...more
Paperback, 146 pages
Published April 23rd 1999 by University of Toronto Press (first published 1200)
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Mina Soare
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How refreshing to have your expectation dashed! Imagine this:

Some guy keeps going to talk to your sister, a bit too often, people are saying. Now, if you were of the TV drama sort, you might raise a fuss. Or you might keep working as reasonable people do - because food is a thing. Then your pops comes to you, says he heard the people talking and, in his reasonable voice, asks to please kill the guy when you have a free moment. Fine. You get off your ass, find the guy and - lay down the facts and
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nordic, studies
This is the story of Gisli. No, not that Gisli. The other Gisli.
Fucking Gisli.
Caroline Torbjørnsdal Engeland
Didn't particularly like this one. Gisle is cowardly little rat, just look at the stunt he pulled on Tord. And he refuse to take the consequences for his actions. I hate the fact that he is portrayed as this grand man when he is nothing but a creep and a coward. He touches a woman's breasts while she sleeps before killing her husband (who is also sleeping) for crying out loud!

Also, I feel like I say this all the time about these sagas, but the Norwegian transliteration is trash and it should be
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Blood feuds and dreams
Gustav Larsson
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully fast-paced page-turner, dealing with issues of infidelity, revenge and exile!
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of sagas, medieva lit, feuds
One of the best of the sagas of Icelanders, and in one of the best translation of the sagas (in my humble opinion). The second half of the book degenerates into more of a typical outlaw saga, much more episodic and loose, but the first have is a beautifully constructed tale of secret murder-- it helps to keep in mind that, while most people believe they know who did the killing at the heart of the conflict, the author (at least in the MSS of the saga which this translation is based on) does not ...more
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Gisli was a bad man. Or was he a hero? It depends upon where you're standing. The character Gisli is a complex, but not unknowable, one. He loves, is jealous, and has a strong sense of vengeance. We can understand his motives, and even appreciate them in the context of their time and the situations he finds himself in. The mode of the book is dominated by the language of the Icelander, thus by necessity by the translation and the era from which it was told. This mode seems stale and boring at fi ...more
Joseph F.
May 14, 2015 rated it liked it
This genre of Icelandic saga is called an outlaw saga, and there are several. Years ago I read Grettir's saga, and I would give that one 5 stars. This one is shorter, and although I did like it, it didn't wow me like that last one did. There are some fine scenes of tension and drama, and the climax is well worth the wait. Gisli's ominous dreams are also a great plot feature.
In addition to the story, there is an essay on Icelandic culture which is worth reading.
The poetry was a tad hard to make
Lorelie Mansur
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medieval
I read Gisla saga in medieval Icelandic several years ago and it still resonates for me in a similar way that the hard boiled detectives of Raymond Chandler do, or the heroes of American western stories, as in True Grit. They are all heroes outside the norms of society, simultaneously admired but always outsiders. Individualists to the core that tug uncomfortably or impossibly at the requirements of civilized society.

There is a particular passage in this old saga that was particularly compelling
Hrefna Brynja
I read this book in school. It's one of the old Icelandic vikings sagas. The book was read for the class 'cause the book is written in a very ancient Icelandic language. I loved the story (can't say the same thing about the movie version called Útlaginn)The book is very heroic and the main character Gísli Súrsson is very very very unrealistic, in the book it says that he held a rock so big that it would be called a mountain, really? But it was funny and I really liked it. I'll have to admit that ...more
Dec 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
It took me about a third of the book to get into the story, especially because I found it nearly impossible at first to sort out who all of the Thorgrims, Thorkells, Thorgeirs, Thordises and Thorbjorns were (not an uncommon difficulty with Icelandic literature), but The Saga of Gisli turned out to be quite a pleasant read, and brief at that. The story moves swiftly. It's hard to pinpoint what I enjoyed so much, but I just liked it a lot, and I'm already looking forward to reading another saga.
Sara R. Gallardo
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Se cree que pudo ser escrita entre 1240 y 1250. Es una de las sagas de islandeses más completa y mejor estructurada. Denominada moderna por muchos analistas (nada de sentimentalismo, nada de sentimiento religioso, nada de mitología), contiene una fuerza y un poder de atracción que ya quisieran muchas novelas actuales y coloca al ser humano y a su destino en el centro de la narración. Preciosa.
Jan 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Last year I took a class on Vikings Through Islandic Sagas, and read this one. For what it was, I found it to be fairly fast-paced, and I didn't get bored. There is actually a movie called The Outlaw based on this book... so you can just see that if you don't want to take the time to read this. I thought the movie itself was less interesting than the book.
A pretty awesome saga, as such things go. There are curses and witchcraft and outlaws and such. And Gisli's final stand takes 8 of his attackers with him, so, y'know, he's pretty awesome at kicking butt. Just sayin'.
(School reading. I just wanted to mark a book as read on goodreads.)
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Nov 10, 2016
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