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Independent People

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Saved by Tim
on November 29, 2009 at 1:11:01 pm

Independent People

Independent People is a novel by Halldor Laxness.  It was orginally published in Icelandic in two parts (Icelandic Pioneers & Hard Times).  The first part was released in 1934 and the second in 1935.  In 1946 it was released in America. Although the book was extremely popular it, along with any other English translation of Laxness's work, was out of print from sometime in the 50s until 1997 when Vintage reissued Independent People along with a handful of other books by Halldor Laxness.




The book opens with Bjartur of Summerhouses looking upon his newly purchased land.  After working for the Bailiff for 18 years Bjartur finally owns his own land, his own sheep, his own destiny.  First he renames the land from 'Winterhouses' to 'Summerhouses'.  Shortly thereafter he marries a woman named Rosa.  She is picked for Bjartur by the wife of the Bailiff.  Rosa was a servant to the Bailiff's wife, much like Bjartur was a servant to the Bailiff.  The match makes sense.  Also, Rosa is pregnant with the Bailiff's son's child.  The parents want Rosa to marry to hide the fact.  Rosa dies in childbirth.  The baby, a girl Bjartur names Asta Solilja, survives.  Bjartur goes to the local revrend, who provides him with a new wife.  With the wife comes a mother-in-law.  The new wife bears Bjartur three sons before she dies.  One son wanders out on a snowy night and dies.  The youngest son (who is most likely Laxness himself) moves to America where he will grow up and "sing to the whole world".  The third son stays with Bjartur, but eventually falls in with a group of young laborers getting ready to fight the police.  Asta Solilja gets pregnant at 15 and is driven out of Summerhouses by Bjartur, who says they do not share any blood.  The book ends with Bjartur losing Sumerhouses to the bank, and having to move out and eat stolen bread.  Bjartur and Asta Solilja make amends and walk through the croft together for the last time.


Viking Themes in Independent People

This is where I will put my project, which is nothing but a long, dull paper.  But for now it is blank.

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