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Independent People
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message 1: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane | 10718 comments Start discussion here for Independent People by Halldór Laxness


message 2: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane | 10718 comments Love this book so far. I have been reading it for the last couple of weeks and I am only halfway through. My copy has about 500 pages in smallish print. It is definitely one to savor and not rush. I jut hope I can get it finished by the end of the month.


Jessica | 484 comments I'm finding this really slow going. One week and I'm only about 20+ pages in. Hoping it's only boring in the beginning!


Carolyn | 2 comments I read the book a couple of years ago and it really is worth persisting with. It was my introduction to Laxness and heavier going than some of his others (like 'The Fish can sing'). Bjartur is also the most stubborn and sometimes infuriating character that one could throttle him. But there are moments of great beauty in this book that make it so memorable.


message 5: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane | 10718 comments Bjartur definitely isn't a very likable character. The book is beautifully written and gives a vivid picture of the landscape and feel of what Iceland must have been like then.


Jessica | 484 comments Yes I felt like strangling Bjartur just sentences into his marriage with Rosa. I'm starting to get into the book a little more now. I think it was the heavy introduction and the Mistress of Myri's long wedding speech that got to me at first.


message 7: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane | 10718 comments Poor Rosa. What she had to put up with! I didn't like her all that much at first, but I think I started liking her out of pity.


message 8: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane | 10718 comments Very bleak, but so beautifully written. I can almost feel the cold and see the harsh landscape and the sheep. But soooooooo long...


message 9: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Lieberman | 45 comments I found that I fell into a kind of trance while reading it, almost as if I was in the story, living through those dark, lonely winters, waiting for the next calamity to strike.


Carolyn | 2 comments Laxness, in this and many other books, has such a talent for bringing to life the historical and cultural setting. The desperate poverty and hardship Icelanders suffered until World War 2 is shown in many of his books, as is the role of the Danes as oppressive colonists. I hope everyone will persist with this book and be inspired to read some of his other works (they're not all bleak!). The ending of I.P. is one of the most poignantly beautiful of any book I've read.


Jessica | 484 comments Great story but not very pleasant because of the grim prospects for its characters. And heavy passages about sheep, worms and politics, which I don't really care for. But I suppose they are necessary backdrop for the story. Another reason why it was such a slow book to get through was because there weren't any characters I particular liked or took an interest.

Any speculation as to whether Asta Sollilja dies of her illness? Halberra's "predictions" always come to pass, so could it be Asta Sollilja who died or the "possible-baby" she's carrying?


message 12: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane | 10718 comments Jessica wrote: "Great story but not very pleasant because of the grim prospects for its characters. And heavy passages about sheep, worms and politics, which I don't really care for. But I suppose they are necessa..."

Hard to say. Given her poor health, I don't imagine she went on to live very long after the close of the book.

Who was Asta Sollilja's real father?


Jessica | 484 comments I was guessing either the Bailiff or Ingolfur, but more probably Ingolfur??


message 14: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Lieberman | 45 comments I thought it was Ingolfur. His mother (the poetess) gives it away later, when she offers to take poor Asta Sollilja in. She owes it to Bjartur.


message 15: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane | 10718 comments I thought there were a lot of similarities to this book and a couple of other books I have read this year, Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Hunger.


message 16: by Bryn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryn Hammond (BrynHammond) Okay to throw a thought in late? I liked this very much, though grim, yes, and rather slow. I think I liked the setting most. The life, the isolated life on farms, reminded me of Icelandic sagas or Kristin Lavransdatter (historical fiction, Norway). I've meant to read it again, pity I missed the group read.


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