Five words from the blurb: Iceland, epic, sheep, independence, masterpiece
I first heard about Independent People when David Mitchell, one of my favourite authors, recommended it. He seems to have a very good taste in books and so I now snap up anything that he highlights.
Independent People focuses on Bjartur, a sheep farmer living in an isolated part of Iceland. His beliefs are totally different to any other culture I have read about before and I found it fascinating to learn about them. Bjartur’s main aim in life is to achieve independence.
He wants to be able to survive without having to rely on anyone else and the lengths he goes to occasionally seem a bit extreme to me. For example, he finds it rude to ask anyone for help, to the extent that in a life or death situation he offered to help someone with a mundane task until that person was grateful and asked if there was anything they could do for him.
This book is beautifully written and packed with quotable sentences and amazing descriptions.
I admit that there were several slow sections, but this is one of those books where all effort is rewarded. It was wonderful to be able to gain an insight into a culture so different from my own. I now have some appreciation for the harshness of life in the Icelandic countryside and am just a little bit more grateful for my centrally heated home.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
….brilliant in a depressing, downtrodden sort of way. BookNAround
His language is poetic, touching and authentic. Caribou’s Mom
It is not an easy read, but is well worth the effort. Musings
Have you read anything written by Halldor Laxness?
Which of his other books do you recommend?