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Saga Land

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  935 ratings  ·  153 reviews
An alternative cover edition for ISBN 9780733338236 can be found here

A new friendship. An unforgettable journey. A beautiful and bloody history.
This is Iceland as you've never read it before ...

Broadcaster Richard Fidler and author Kári Gíslason are good friends. They share a deep attachment to the sagas of Iceland - the true stories of the first Viking families who settle
Hardcover, 447 pages
Published June 2018 by Harper Collins
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4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  935 ratings  ·  153 reviews

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Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My God this was beautiful. I decided to go with the audiobook because of Richard Fidler (Mr Radio, why wouldn't you?) and was delighted to discover that Kári Gíslason co-reads it and that his voice is just as beautiful to listen to as Richard's. They both completely swept me up into the world of Iceland, past and present, so thoroughly that at times I felt like I was there with them.

Saga Land is a hard book to describe - it's part memoir, part travelogue, part buddy story, part Icelandic saga (w
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I start this review let me say, if you get the opportunity to see the authors speak about Saga Land - do it. Saga Land is part compendium of the Icelandic sagas, part personal journey and memoir for Gislason. I have to say I loved every minute of this book. I enjoyed learning about Iceland's history, both in early and recent times. The sagas are fascinating, bloody and filled with honour. Snorri's history was rich and epic, Gudrun's saga was haunting and memorable. I could get lost in the ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I read non-fiction I like to read chapters slowly over time. This one spiked my interest as it contained sagas and historical context about Vikings or more specially Iceland. It also involved a slight adventure story, and self dicsovery for one of the authors. The Scandinavian history or Viking sagas have always been some of my favourite fables. This really was a great read. Having been to Iceland, and being a tourist myself, whilst reading I honestly had flashbacks of my trip, and it was w ...more
Richard Fidler and Kari Gislison meet on Richard's radio show when Kari talks about his passion for the Icelandic Sagas. They join forces to visit Iceland and make a radio documentary and write a book about their visit. They plan to open up the Sagas and visit the places in Iceland where they occurred. At the same time, Kari is returning to his birth place and attempting to come to terms with his family story.

Sounds dry as dust but it was anything but. I loved every minute of it. I am a great fa
Jennifer (JC-S)
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oz-authors-2018
‘The sagas are the true castles of Iceland .’

This book, part-travelogue, part-family history, part story-telling is a wonderful tribute to Iceland and its Viking history. There are different types of sagas as well: family sagas, including co-author Kári Gíslason’s own family saga and the saga of Snorri Sturluson.

Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason met when Fidler interviewed Gíslason about his unusual family history. Kári Gíslason was born in Reykjavik to Susan, an Australian, and her Icelandic lov
Richard Fidler writes like he talks. Educated, erudite, often of awe of his topic. This time he heads off to Iceland with his chum Kari Gislason (author of two previous memoirs The Promise of Iceland and The Ash Burner) in search of the Icelandic Sagas and to conclude Kari's own search for his roots to Snorri Sturluson.
I have found reading the sagas a challenge. Too many begettings, beheadings, bewitchings and back stabbings with multi characters. But Richard and Kari go to the places where the
Danielle  Duncan
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the kind in which the authors take you on a journey - not the fleeting kind in which you stand by idle watching the world rush by, but the kind that lovingly leads you by the hand and takes you on a real adventure. As I read this book, I felt as though I was not just listening to Fidler and Gíslason's recount of their journey through Iceland, but rather, I felt as though I was there with them. So while technically I may not have ever seen Iceland, in a sense I have - not just the co ...more
Rikki Hill
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teaching year 8 History - which has a Vikings topic - meant this felt a bit like work for me... but in a good way! I'm fascinated by Iceland, I love a bit of travel writing which this kind of is at times, and although I'm interested in the sagas I think this was a better way for me to read them than to just look at them in their own.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great read for its mix of subject- it is not just a collection of Norse mythology or deep history. It is the personal story of a co author establishing their right to be acknowledged as part of the unbroken lineage of Icelanders. It is the mythology and the history and the current culture. It captures the story of chess player Bobby. It is not a dry read, the language just flows, a 1000 year story.
There is even a chapter near the end that explains why we still have these sagas preserve
Patrick Harrison
This is one of the most compelling books that I've read in a while. The strands - of ancient saga, of Kari and Richard travelling through present day Iceland, and of Kari's journey to unearth his ancestry - are beautifully woven together. Must read.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I am so glad I have read Saga Land. When I had originally been introduced to this book at a publishers roadshow event, I knew this would be a great seller. It had a previous release behind it in Ghost Empire by Fidler and his son, it has the ABC Radio publicity channels promoting it and it is getting great advertising in general by the publishers. It is also probably helped along by the fact that shows like the History Channel's Vikings are very in vogue at the moment. The Grey haired crowd woul ...more
Kate Forsyth
I loved Richard Fidler’s earlier book, Ghost Empire, about his journey to Constantinople with his son, which entwined travel writing with history and legend in a very personable and beguiling way. And I’ve been interested in Iceland and its astonishing sagas for quite some time. So, I was keen to read Saga Land from the second I heard about it.

Subtitled ‘The Island Of Stories at the Edge of the World’, Saga Land is the story of how ABC broadcaster Richard Fidler became friends with one of his gu
If you're going to pick up this book, I *highly* recommend the audiobook. Richard Fidler is a radio personality in Australia so he has a lovely reading voice. Kári Gíslason is a university lecturer who also has a lovely voice, and his lilting Icelandic pronunciation is beautiful. He does occasionally pause in odd places but it's more a charming idiosyncrasy than an annoying flaw.

Saga Land is very difficult to categorise - part memoir, part travelogue, part buddy road trip, part saga retelling -
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adl-ww-2018
A beautifully woven tale of medieval Icelandic Sagas and a modern journey by the authors to disentangle their own ties to the country's history. The chapters alternate between the two authors seamlessly, as does the narrative between the modern and medieval accounts. Filled with stunning and bleak landscapes, warm-hearted but cold-faced people and enough gods, axe fights and wars to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty of readers, Saga Land is a voyage well worth embarking on.
Samantha Grosser
Loved this book - funny, moving, beautiful, fascinating. I slowed down over the last few chapters, rationing my reading time because I didn't want to finish it. And now, I REALLY want to visit Iceland.
Fantastic book.
More cohesive thoughts to come.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great mix of saga and travel diary. Shame about some of the sexist undertones but they were at least brief and kept to a minimum - do we really need to know how attractive your principal was before we even know about her character? Don't worry they'll remind you. Otherwise very readable
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Highly Recommended.
I love the way the authors, Richard and Kári draw from the historical Family Sagas of Iceland and from Kari's own modern day family saga, giving greater significance to resolving Kari's own family mystery.

Richard Fidler has a way with words that is crisp and brilliant,as does his friend and co-author Kári Gíslason. I'll be looking out for more of both of their works.

A beautiful mix of travelogue, memoir and of course, the Icelandic Sagas. This book tells the tale of an Australian and an Icelandic-Australian who journey to the country - to record the sagas for an Australian radio audience and chase down some familial history. It's left me longing to return once more to that magical and mystical place - the land of ice and fire.
Dennis Rutzou
This was a stop/start book for me as in the middle stages I lost interest and then went back to it a few months later. I am not sure if the concept of having two authors (Richard and Kari) really worked for me and probably contributed to my stop/start progress as it seemed to interrupt the continuity and subsequently my interest. The subject of the sagas of Iceland is tied up with the history of the country and except for the association with Norway is not really covered until the very end of th ...more
While this book was interesting, particularly for someone like me who knows little about Icelandic history and culture, I found the saga interludes confusing and the overall structure of the book confusing and a little... aimless. The book jumps between two people’s 2 week trip through Iceland, also jumping back through different times in their earlier lives, all interspersed with sagas, and nothing to link them all together... perhaps I just didn’t get it.
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 1/2 stars. Probably helped along by seeing the authors live at Adelaide Writers Week, but really enjoyed the mix of getting to learn (I love history) but having an interesting contemporary story to follow as well.
Lilly Mary
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as slowly as I could, wanting to stay within the pages of so many sagas. A beautiful journey.
These stories have further fuelled my love for history :)
Pete Collings
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Simply AWESOME book!!!
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This exquisite book has been on my shelf since this time last year. For most of the interim it has been enough to caress its glittering cover and pore over the haunting colour plates. I will admit (now) to being slightly daunted by the lengthy list of saga characters that opens the book and (on two occasions) to allowing Richard Fidler's dry introduction to dent my resolve to tackle it.
Do not be put off, as I was. Once Kári's 20th century Icelandic saga begins, which I can still hear intoned in
Melissa Riley
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went to an event for Saga Land before I read the book where the authors told some of the Icelandic sagas, like they were traditionally meant to be told. I was completely entranced and had to find out more.
This book covers more than just the sagas, though. Kari Gislason's first book, The Promise of Iceland, is also touched on a little - explaining Kari's attachment to Iceland and his disconnected past with his father. The journey that Richard and Kari go on to record the saga's in Iceland was
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book about Iceland – a land gaining a lot of attention in last years.
The two friends, Kari and Richard are traveling together. For Kari, it is much more than a fleeting visit – he is, so to speak returning in search of his family roots. Is he truly a descendant to Snori Sturluson? The man who has collected the Norge Sagas and left us a written record of it? The man without whom we might have never heard of Odin and Thor?

The chapters alternate between the two authors record
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suspect there is a whole slew of Australians currently booking flights to Reykjavik as a direct result of this book. A funny - but clearly for most people successful - mix of memoir, travelogue, history and retelling of Viking legends, it evokes a tough, austere, beautiful country and its people so vividly it is as if you could step out of your door and sit next to a fjord.
Not all of it engrossed me. To my surprise, I found some of Fidler's patented self-deprecating Aussie-abroad stuff irrita
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of Káre Gíslason’s search for identity segues with the Viking sagas of Iceland. Instead of the vicious and horrifying physical violence that underpins the Viking culture, Gíslason’s personal saga is psychological. The impact of his father’s denial of him as his son haunts him. Richard Fidler accompanies Gíslason to Iceland, and motivates him to take steps to ascertain his Icelandic identity.

The Icelandic sagas are there, told in the context of the places the authors visited. I found th
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Richard Fidler is one of ABC's (Australian Broadcasting Commission) most popular presenters, best known for his hour-long interview program, Conversations with Richard Fidler. The program is ABC Radio's most popular podcast, downloaded more than 1.5 million times per month. It features local and international guests from all walks of life, engaging in in-depth interviews.

He first came to prominenc
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