Under the Glacier represents Nobel laureate Halldor Laxness at his entertaining and brilliantly inventive best. Philosophy, theological speculation, and charming wit combine to make this novel a timeless fable of modern times.
A youthful emissary of the Bishop of Iceland travels to the beautiful and mysterious district of Snæfellsnes, locally known as "Under Glacier" to investigate the affairs of the parish and its enigmatic pastor. The story is the young man's report to the bishop on the extraordinary events taking place at the foot of Snæfellsnes-Glacier and the remarkable characters he encounters in the course of his investigations. In this strange region, all accepted distinctions between past and present, the mundane and the supernatural, seem at times to vanish.
©1968 Halldor Laxness (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Laxness is a beacon in twentieth-century literature, a writer of splendid originality, wit, and feeling." (Alice Munro)
"A marvelous novel about the most ambitious questions. It is also one of the funniest books ever written." (Susan Sontag)
"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." (The Atlantic Monthly)
The book itself is a bit difficult but can be interesting. Unfortunately, The narration is a travesty. The narrator is flat and an interesting and has not bothered to check out how to pronounce any of the names or places in the book. I travel to Iceland four or five times per year over the last 10 years. Listening to every name and place being mutilated is too distracting to make it possible for this book to be listen to for long. Any school child could have put the names into Google and have them pronounced correctly. If you are able to overlook the grating sound of names being mashed, and the narrator sounds as if he is stumbling over most of them, the narrator is still just not able to make the story come to life. It is almost like listening to a telemarketer. A real shame as this can be a very interesting book. Requested a refund
And absolutely skip chapter two which in its entirty a misserable intellectule pretension and gives away important revelations The introduction should have a post script critque. I bought a book not a review and contemplated returning the whole thing but simply skipped to chapter two. Things did not get much better for a long time. However, I got accustomed to bizzar dialog and became amused so kept listening. Eventually the story became engrossing and was a very satisfactory tale. And the ending chapters made the early slog worth while. Indeed I plan to re-listen some of the early obscure parts to better put the whole thing to one piece.
Now I will start the introduction again to see if it might be enduarable to the end. ..... It was not. Having now once again attempted chapter two my advice is skip it skip it skip it. By ALL means skip it. It was more horrible and damaging then even I first perceived since I got farther this tne. I have edited the above review in light of this misplacen road block. Which I ended up by fast fowarding in 30 second fast forwards.
Although it is true that the pronunciation of non-English words and phrases has a distinct English accent, I do not think this has a significant effect on the quality of the performance. On the contrary, the reader's tone and affect are very appropriate for Laxness's style of dry, mocking humor.
The story is engaging, and to me slightly reminiscent of Nabokov's tendencies to mock, at least superficially, any target in sight.
Because I am only beginning my reading of Iceland's great books, I had underestimated this book's impact on me, over other reads. It is one of those stories, perhaps like Iceland itself, that I can't let go in my thoughts. My only regret is that the next time I read it, it will not again be the first time. Unforgettable. Provocative. Timeless.
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