Alfgrim was an abandoned child whose mother gave birth to him in the turf cottage of Bjorn of Brekkukot, the fisherman, on the outskirts of Reykjavik. Written by Iceland's finest author, this is the beautifully crafted tale of Alfgrim's boyhood in the home of his grandparents in the early years of the 20th century and how everything changes when ...Read MoreAlfgrim was an abandoned child whose mother gave birth to him in the turf cottage of Bjorn of Brekkukot, the fisherman, on the outskirts of Reykjavik. Written by Iceland's finest author, this is the beautifully crafted tale of Alfgrim's boyhood in the home of his grandparents in the early years of the 20th century and how everything changes when he goes to school and meets the singer Gardar Holm.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-01-08 Laxness, Iceland's best-known fiction writer and winner of the 1955 Nobel Prize for literature, authored well over 60 novels and other books before his death in 1998 at the age of 90. This lyrical novel, first published in English in 1966 (nine years after its original publication in Iceland), concerns a boy named Alfgrímur Hannson of Brekkukot, the humble fishing cottage where he is raised by adoptive grandparents. The novel's plot?if so formal a term may be used to describe the tale's slow and meandering progress through Alfgrímur's uneventful youth?involves an Icelandic singing star known as Gardar Hólm. All Iceland, except for Hólm's own mother and the folks at Brekkukot, dote on Hólm because of his international reputation for performing lieder. Yet few have ever heard him sing?the beloved Hólm is growing old and he is mysteriously elusive. Young Alfgrímur may also be a gifted singer, and he tracks Hólm down assiduously. Once he finds him, however, he learns that singing is only one way of seeking "the one true note"?and he who has heard that note never sings again. Laxness portrays the backwardness of turn-of-the-century Iceland with gentle humor and irony. Tiny Iceland needs its "singing fish"?celebrities like Gardar Hólm, and perhaps Alfgrímur Hannson?but the moral of Laxness's lovely fable references a simpler sentiment: glory may just as well be sought in the humblest walks of life. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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