This post is about Halldor Laxness’s epic book which won him the Nobel prize in literature. I was initially attracted to this book after reading this essay by David Davidar. The legato prose is interspersed with sharp staccato vignettes and practical insights into human nature and culture. Intertwined in this narrative form is also the briefest of descriptions of nature, reminding me of Ryokan’s gentle Zen Haiku poetry. His descriptions have a gentle ardor about them and the passages are cloaked in a feeling that is quite different from the standard English Novel, being as it is a translation from the Icelandic. (speaking of which, the authors of the Icelandic sagas are much like the Upanishadic writers of Indian yore whose books have impacted the consciousness of the people in no small way and whose intertwining of philosophy with practical instruction and everyday happenings into such a splendid coherence that one always renews oneself and returns to their saws and utterences for comfort and consolation( at least i do)
gentle passages of prose are interspersed with meditative reflections both upon human nature and upon action and also obliquely hinting and touching at the topics of morals and ethics;
the book has a slow meditative feel to it much like a muthuswamy dikshitar composition in carnatic music……its use of dead pan comedy and descriptions of everyday happenings and moving the story little by little struck a chord in me.
This page has a nice article about Halldor Laxness that appeared in the New Yorker.