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April Books 14) Njal's Saga

In a week when people have been thinking about Iceland for other reasons, it was odd to be reading Njal's Saga, much of which takes place around the very slopes of Eyjafjallajökull. Though actually I found certain similarities also with my current trip to Africa; Njal's Saga is in part about modernisation of an agrarian society, and the challenges caused by economic change to traditional patterns of internal conflict resolution. It was recommended to me ages ago by the rarely seen thorngirl, whose detailed review I strongly recommend; I can't add a lot more to what she says, except to add my praise for the sparse writing style, the three-dimensional characterisation, the (mostly unsuccessful) attempts to resolve family feuds through law rather than blood, the sense of a small, isolated community which is none the less intimately connected with the rest of the Norse world (one of the set-pieces towards the end is the Battle of Clontarf). Tremendous stuff.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
inulro
Apr. 22nd, 2010 07:37 am (UTC)
I love Njal's Saga too - had to read it for my MA, loved it and wrote a well-received paper on it. I really must re-read it.

All the other sagas I've read since have been disappointing, except from a historical curiosity point of view.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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