Eduardo Santiago's Reviews > Independent People

Independent People by Halldór Laxness
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's review
May 07, 2011

really liked it
Read from April 01 to May 07, 2011 — I own a copy

Pride. Pride has been the topic of beautiful and deep conversations with friends, some still ongoing. It's a multifaceted word, hard to talk about because of its many meanings. It's also an important and necessary part of the balance we humans must keep.

Cruelty. Not a word I'd ever associated with pride, but now I may never be able to look at pride the same way. Some may see Independent People as a book about sheep, or perhaps the Icelandic ethos, or about struggle. I found heartbreak. Some parts hurt to read. Physically hurt. Gut level. And it kept hurting more.

Bjartur of Summerhouses wants to be independent. Own his land, be indebted to nobody, be strong. This need, this pride drives him to an isolation that is especially pathetic because he isn't even aware of it. Unseeing, he drives away love and hope and promise. The dumbstruck reader is with him every cruel step of the way. And perhaps, at the end, seeing independence in a different light.

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