Iceland's Bell by Halldor Laxness

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



Sometimes grim, sometimes uproarious, and always captivating, Iceland’s Bell by Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness is at once an updating of the traditional Icelandic saga and a caustic social satire. At the close of the 17th century, Iceland is an oppressed Danish colony, suffering under extreme poverty, famine, and plague. A farmer and accused cord-thief named Jon Hreggvidsson makes a bawdy joke about the Danish king and soon after finds himself a fugitive charged with the murder of the king’s hangman.

In the years that follow, the hapless but resilient rogue Hreggvidsson becomes a pawn entangled in political and personal conflicts playing out on a far grander scale. Chief among these is the star-crossed love affair between Snaefridur, known as “Iceland’s Sun,” a beautiful, headstrong young noblewoman, and Arnas Arnaeus, the king’s antiquarian, an aristocrat whose worldly manner conceals a fierce devotion to his downtrodden countrymen. As their personal struggle plays itself out on an international stage, Iceland’s Bell creates a Dickensian canvas of heroism and venality, violence and tragedy, charged with narrative enchantment on every page.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Halldor Laxness

See more books from this Author
Halldór Laxness was born near Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1902. His first novel was published when he was seventeen. The undisputed master of contemporary Icelandic fiction and one of the outstanding novelists of the century, he has written more than sixty books, including novels short stories, essays, poems, plays and memoirs. In 1955 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1998.
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 446 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Iceland's Bell

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Yes No By clicking on "Submit"...

Oct 14 2003 | Read Full Review of Iceland's Bell

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

This is the most resolutely Icelandic of Laxness’s work—and it’s probably safe to assume that its emphasis on Denmark’s threats to his homeland’s sovereignty conceals a warning about the perils of a mid-20th-century world dominated by acquisitive global powers.

| Read Full Review of Iceland's Bell

Star Tribune

See more reviews from this publication

Beginning in the late 1930s, as Iceland was becoming an outpost for allied forces to prevent Hitler from hopscotching the Atlantic to America, the novel takes up the life of Christian Benediktsson, the quiet, self-effacing butler to William Randolph Hearst.

Nov 01 2003 | Read Full Review of Iceland's Bell

Reader Rating for Iceland's Bell

An aggregated and normalized score based on 15 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review