IAn idealistic Icelandic farmer journeys to Mormon Utah and back in search of paradise in this captivating novel by Nobel Prize—winner Halldor Laxness.
The quixotic hero of this long-lost classic is Steinar of Hlidar, a generous but very poor man who lives peacefully on a tiny farm in nineteenth-century Iceland with his wife and two adoring young children. But when he impulsively offers his children's beloved pure-white pony to the visiting King of Denmark, he sets in motion a chain of disastrous events that leaves his family in ruins and himself at the other end of the earth, optimistically building a home for them among the devout polygamists in the Promised Land of Utah. By the time the broken family is reunited, 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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of History eBook: Paradise Reclaimed|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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The wonder pony
In the early days of Kristian Wilhelmsson, who was the third last foreign king to wield power here in Iceland,* a farmer named Steinar lived at HlÃ?dar in the district known as SteinahlÃ?dar. He had been so named by his father after the rubble of stones that cascaded down off the mountain in the spring when he was born. Steinar was a married man by the time this story opens, and had two young children, a daughter and a son; he had inherited the farm of HlÃ?dar from his father.
At this time, Icelanders were said to be the poorest people in Europe, just as their fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers had been, all the way back to the earliest settlers; but they believed that many long centuries ago there had been a Golden Age in Iceland, when Icelanders had not been mere farmers and fishermen as they were now, but royal-born heroes and poets who owned weapons, gold, and ships. Like other boys in Iceland, Steinar's son soon learned to be a viking and king's-man, and whittled axes and swords for himself out of pieces of wood.
HlÃ?dar was built in the same way as the average farmhouse in Iceland had been from time immemorial--a floored living-room and entrance, and a small timber-lined spare room with a bed for visitors. A row of wooden gables faced on to the yard in the normal order of farm-buildings of that period, with an outhouse, store-shed, byre, stable, sheep-hut and finally a small workshed. Behind the buildings the haystacks reared up every autumn and dwindled down to nothing by the spring.
Farms of this kind, turf-roofed and grass-grown, were to be found huddling under the mountain-slopes in a thousand places in Iceland in those days...