Author(s): Halldor Laxness
The whimsical hero of this long-lost classic is Steinar of Hlidar, a generous but very poor man living peacefully on a tiny farm in nineteenth-century Iceland. Steinar is the possessor of an unusual pure-white pony, one that his two children believe has fairy blood and which he repeatedly refuses to sell to his richer neighbours, wanting to preserve the children's idyllic fantasy world as long as possible. But when Steinar impulsively offers his family's prized pony to the visiting King of Denmark, he sets in motion - in true fairy-tale fashion - a disastrous chain of events that leave his family in tatters and himself at the other end of the earth, in America. His quixotic attempt to prepare a paradise for his loved ones there, among the devout polygamists in the Mormon Promised Land of Utah, results in their spectacular ruin. By the time the broken family is reunited, Halldor Laxness has spun his trademark blend of compassion and comically brutal satire into a moving and spellbinding enchantment, composed equally of elements of fable and folkore and of the most humble truths.
1)SUCCESS OF INDEPENDENT PEOPLE: Vintage's reissue of Laxness's novel revived interest in a forgotten classic: the Vintage edition has sold more than 50,000 copies in 13 printings. 2)LAXNESS CENTENARY: Laxness is a favourite of such writers as Annie Dillard, Annie Proulx, and Jane Smiley
"Laxness has genuine magic as a novelist." --New York Herald Tribune "The qualities of the sagas pervade his writing, and particularly a kind of humor--oblique, stylized and childlike--that can be found in no other contemporary writer." --Atlantic Monthly "Full of an earthy poetry...a style wonderfully wise and entirely Scandinavian in its combination of magic and reality." --The New York Times Book Review
Halldor Laxness was born near Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1902. His first novel was published when he was seventeen. The undisputed master of contemporary Icelandic fiction and one of the outstanding novelists of the century, he has written more than sixty books, including novels, short stories, essays, poems, plays, and memoirs. In 1955 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1998. In time for the centenary of the birth of Iceland's Nobel Laureate: his delightful novel of a poor Icelandic farmer's journey to Mormon Utah and back in search of paradise.