Posts Tagged ‘halldór laxness’
Les annales de Brekkukot
Fayard, « Littérature étrangère »
19 février 2009
36,95 $ au Canada
In English: The Fish Can Sing
Au début du xxe siècle, le jeune Alfgrímur vit à Brekkukot, une ferme de tourbe située à la périphérie de Reykjavík, alors simple bourgade, chez le vieux couple qui l’a recueilli et qu’il considère comme ses grands-parents. Il y côtoie une bande délurée d’excentriques et de philosophes qui trouvent refuge dans le simple respect d’autrui, conformément à l’éthique des habitants de Brekkukot. L’enfance idyllique d’Alfgrímur et ses projets d’avenir, à savoir devenir pêcheur de lompe comme son grand-père, basculent lorsqu’il rencontre le chanteur lyrique islandais mondialement célèbre, le mystérieux Gardar Hólm, qui l’incite à atteindre « la note pure ». Mais comment peut-il y parvenir sans renoncer au monde qu’il aime ?
Dans ce roman curieux et merveilleux, où se mêlent histoires de voyageurs, mythes et légendes islandaises, le Prix Nobel de littérature dépeint avec humour et finesse l’univers restreint d’un jeune garçon confronté malgré lui au monde moderne.
The Great Weaver from Kashmir
1 October 2008
$26.00 in Canada
The Great Weaver from Kashmir is Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxness’ first major novel, the book that propelled Icelandic literature into the modern world. Shortly after World War One, Steinn Elliði, a young philosopher-poet dandy, leaves the physical and cultural confines of Iceland’s shores for mainland Europe, seeking to become “the most perfect man on earth.” His journey leads us through a huge range of moral, philosophical, religious, political, and social realms, from hedonism to socialism to aestheticism to Benedictine monasticism, exploring, as Laxness puts it, “the far-ranging variety in the life of a soul, with the swings on a pendulum oscillating between angel and devil.” Half a decade and myriad transformations later, Steinn returns to Iceland. As he scoffs at his quaint, provincial island, the otherworldly beauty of the land, the depth of Iceland’s culture and traditions, and the intrigues of and power plays of the locals come alive. The Great Weaver from Kashmir is as much a domestic parlor drama as it is a novel of ideas; it can be seen as the downward spiral of an antihero or as the redemption of a sinner; it is simultaneously an inward-looking and daring early novel and a modern epic spun by a superior craftsman. Published when Laxness was only twenty-five years old, The Great Weaver from Kashmir’s radical experimentation caused a stir in Iceland, which would soon reverberate throughout Europe. Appearing in English now for the first time, The Great Weaver is much more than a first major work by a literary master—it is a groundbreaking modernist classic.
The Fish Can Sing
19 February 2008
$16.50 in Canada
Original Title: Brekkukotsannáll
En français : Les annales de Brekkukot
The Fish Can Sing is one of Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxness’s most beloved novels, a poignant coming-of-age tale marked with his peculiar blend of light irony and dark humor.
The orphan Alfgrimur has spent an idyllic childhood sheltered in the simple turf cottage of a generous and eccentric elderly couple. Alfgrimur dreams only of becoming a fisherman like his adoptive grandfather, until he meets Iceland’s biggest celebrity. The opera singer Gardar Holm’s international fame is a source of tremendous pride to tiny, insecure Iceland, though no one there has ever heard him sing. A mysterious man who mostly avoids his homeland and repeatedly fails to perform for his adoring countrymen, Gardar takes a particular interest in Alfgrimur’s budding musical talent and urges him to seek out the world beyond the one he knows and loves. But as Alfgrimur discovers that Gardar is not what he seems, he begins to confront the challenge of finding his own path without turning his back on where he came from.