[[ DOWNLOAD EPUB ]] ☠ The Greenlanders ⇱ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free
I recommend this book to those of you seeking immersion into the world of medieval Greenland The characters are the Nordic immigrants who settled in Greenland, the events taking place in the 1300s, centuries after Viking exploration These people must cope with cold and a native population that is so strange that these creatures are seen as demons These people, the indigenous Inuits, are called skraelings It is a world of hunger and hard times, adultery and murder, illness and death and lawlessness Death, death and death and of course religion The Norwegians settled here to trade, to hunt and to farm The Thing and the Bishop and his priests were the ultimate authority of power, and it isn t easy reading of their ways I have never run into the style of writing found in this book To help you determine if you will enjoy it, I have included a quote Then she turned to Gunnar and declared that as a child of but fifteen years, Gunhild could not be asked to keep two things in her mind at once, namely the Thjodhilds Stead way and the Lavrans Stead way And since one had to make way for the other, it was necessary that the old go out and the new come in The result of this was that on the feast of St Stephen, Gunhild and Gunnar went on skis across the fjord and over the hills to Thjodhilds Stead, and Gunhild stayed there, as a maiden, and came home no And this was also the case, that in the disorder of departure, she never once looked over her shoulder, nor did she see her brother and sisters and mother waving a fter her, but she only went forward, looking for her new home, and this came to Birgitta as an unaccountable grief, no matter how she prayed and told herself that this was the pain of bearing daughters, and folk must always accustom themselves to it41% The language is different There is an absence of dialog There is a distance between the storyteller and the listener There is a formality to expressions that reflects the atmosphere of the times The reader is always looking on rather than partaking of the events Nevertheless, as the story proceeds you very definitely come to care for the characters When you read the above quote you feel the sorrow and grief of the mother who is losing her child even though she reasons with herself that this is a step all mothers must take Although the events are tragic, there are also characters that are happy and satisfied with their lives There are characters that will astound you with their strength, others with their individuality There are couples that separate and take other spouses or women who manage alone That is no small task There is feuding and injustice and then there is kindness There are neighbors who step in and help when they need not.You will feel immersed in another world You will understand what their life really was like Mostly it was grim You see their world with their eyes and their sensibilities You come to understand how the skraelings could be dangerous how the priests were worthy of respect and that sometimes one simply had to see that people were punished I f you didn t see this was done yourself, nobody else would The Pulitzer prize winning author, Jane Smiley, plops you down in another world where the mindset is initially completely foreign and strange You come to think as they do However, the book will not fit everyone The writing takes getting use to and the characters are numerous They are listed in the front Don t expect a lot of laughs Do expect total immersion in another time and place In my view this book deserves five stars for the author s ability to transport the reader to a completely foreign place and for that place to become real I have chosen nevertheless to give it three stars because I personally had a hard time with the language style, even though it had to be exactly as it was to properly conjure that world I did have trouble reading this book I can only give it three stars.
[[ DOWNLOAD EPUB ]] ⇜ The Greenlanders ↴ Pulitzer Prize Winner And Bestselling Author Jane Smiley S The Greenlandersis An Enthralling Novel In The Epic Tradition Of The Old Norse SagasSet In The Fourteenth Century In Europe S Most Farflung Outpost, A Land Of Glittering Fjords, Blasting Winds, Sun Warmed Meadows, And High, Dark Mountains, The Greenlandersis The Story Of One Family Proud Landowner Asgeir Gunnarsson His Daughter Margret, Whose Willful Independence Leads Her Into Passionate Adultery And Exile And His Son Gunnar, Whose Quest For Knowledge Is At The Compelling Center Of This Unforgettable Book Jane Smiley Takes Us Into This World Of Farmers, Priests, And Lawspeakers, Of Hunts And Feasts And Long Standing Feuds, And By An Act Of Literary Magic, Makes A Remote Time, Place, And People Not Only Real But Dear To Us What makes this book unique is also what makes it unapproachable Namely, it was written in the style of a Scandinavian epic, which is a departure from the narrative graces we re used to At first, this causes it to seem anecdotal and choppy, and I had a hard time getting into it After I became immersed in the characters and their lives, however, it quickly gathered momentum and drew me in Though it follows a large cast of characters, I did not find myself yearning for attention to some and less to others This was a compelling novel with sympathetic characters that illustrated a lifestyle and hardships very different from those of modern times Don t be turned off by the chosen framework. Note this is a personal and somewhat rambling review.The Greenlanders was one of the great reading experiences of my adult life, and I have to confess that great reading experiences have become few and far between the older and jaded I get I had heard of the book for several years prior, and I knew that at some point, the time would ripe I find that certain books reward a structured, self conscious approach to being read, The Greenlanders being a case in point I am not sure why, it certainly isn t rational another example was Wallace Stegner s Angle of Repose Most books I pick up and start reading immediately, but for certain others, I feel the need to anticipate and postpone.In this instance, I purchased a used hardback through an partner When it arrived it was pleasingly large and heavy with a clear plastic cover protecting the jacket The cover artwork is excellent, and the bookseller had included an additional bonus of a postcard version of the cover or perhaps this was included by the publisher in any case it made a great bookmark I set the book aside for several weeks on my bedside table to let the idea of it grow in my mind, occasionally picking it up just to enjoy the heft, and eventually, the time was right and I dove in.When I did start to read it I was immediately captivated It is not an easy read as some reviewers have pointed out The prose style is that of an actual Norse or Scandinavian saga, the dialog can seem stilted, and the overall tone is stylized, spare, and stark Smiley frequently reuses certain phrases there came a time for example reinforcing the sense that one is listening to an oral story The characters can be difficult to keep track of Simple events harvests, meals are described with the same dispassionate tone as murder If you read quickly or skim at all, you can miss vital developments.Despite its challenges, The Greenlanders richly rewards a reader s efforts After the first few pages, I had sunk into it s mood, my inner ear adapting to the pacing and style of the prose, surrendering to the almost Biblical voice I have a similar reaction to Shakespeare or Melville difficult at first, but then as I get accustomed to the rhythm, it is as though I enter a different world So as to not spoil the plot, I will say only that the story is truly epic in scope, covering decades and taking the character s from youth to old age By the time I was finished, after several late nights of reading, I felt as though I were emerging from a dream Images from the book remain with me, still vivid in my brain a year later.I am generally a fan of Jane Smiley, although I must admit that I prefer her less popular books Moo, Horse Heaven to her blockbusters Thousand Acres The Greenlanders definitely falls among the former Highly recommended. Wow I picked this up on something of a whim with one or two reservations as my GR friend Richard has opined it s a stonking wodge of paper and I didn t know if the book would hold my interest for the page count , but boy am I glad I tried it This is an incredible book Not just because of the great amount of research that I imagine was involved in its creation, but quite simply because it tells a compelling story or really an interrelated set of stories that is immersive and vivid Based on the Icelandic Family Sagas, and written very much in their style, it may take the modern reader a bit of time to acclimate themselves there are, for example some abrupt changes of scene, or even the casual mention of the death of a character we have been following, as well as the generally laconic style that is often found in the source material , but Smiley does an excellent job in capturing the cadence and voice of the sagas while managing to add just enough novelistic detail on the thoughts and actions of her characters to help to fill out the lacunae that might otherwise be found in a traditional saga She has, in short, an unerring talent at being able to see the bones of the story and then to apply muscles and skin to it as my afore mentioned friend Richard has so astutely pointed out She was no doubt aided by the fact that the Icelandic sagas are already known as a literature that appears incredibly modern to contemporary eyes despite their medieval provenance with their focus, partially at least, on the daily lives of normal people As is perhaps obvious from the title, Smiley takes as her subject the lives of the Norwegian and Icelandic settlers of Greenland and their struggles to survive the trials imposed upon them by both the harsh environment in which they live, as well as human opposition of both the skraelings , or native inhabitants of the island, not to mention the perhaps prevalent and dangerous existence of their own poor decisions and internal conflicts It is a fascinating postulation of the daily and especially seasonal lives of normal Greenlanders centering on the family of Asgeir Gunnarsson, with special emphasis on his son Gunnar, daughter Margaret, and subsequent grandchildren Underlying the tales of daily life that follow, and informing all that happens, is the enmity that lies between this family and their local rivals, and the intertwined tragedies that shape their lives as a result This is not to say that the lives of others, including the putative leaders of the Greenlanders, are not also taken into account, but it could be argued that the relative poverty of all of the Greenland settlers, especially as time wore on and the tenuous sea connection to the rest of Europe all but disappeared, made the distinction between great and low somewhat less noticeable.The story makes explicit the casual cruelty of which humans are capable All of the characters suffer due to the harsh realities of their world, and all too often because of the enmity or carelessness of others, but I must say that poor Margaret Asgeirssdottir suffers so continuously and tragically that you d have to have a heart of stone to not be moved by her life even though told in the matter of fact manner of the sagas It sometimes seems as though the very understated nature of Smiley s delivery of these events paradoxically makes them resound all the fiercely in the reader s mind For all of the harsh realities and tragic events that occur, however, this isn t misery porn and the book is often leavened by humour and scenes of love, compassion, and insight Smiley s most exceptional achievement perhaps lies in the development of her characters I found that all of them became very real to me in short order as I followed them through the years and the vagaries of life in Greenland which affected and changed them It was really a uniquely moving experience I was certainly most interested in the lives of the main family that came to centre around Gunnar Asgeirsson, his wife Birgitta, sister Margaret and their children, but really all of the characters whose lives we glimpse in the novel are fascinating and real It seemed as though I had spent this time with them myself, growing and changing as they did, and I came to feel the victories they had won few though they may be and the losses that they had endured were things in which I had also shared I was, for example, struck by my feelings for Kollgrim Gunnarsson as he grew into manhood and moved towards his inevitable fate even though as a child he was not an especially sympathetic character Indeed I began to see much of his father in the boy and then found myself almost surprised to consider the elderly Gunnar Asgeirsson, wondering how he had himself so quickly grown from the wayward boy I remembered into a man, much as I might have felt regarding a friend from my youth, or a child I had remembered whom I now saw before me as a grown adult It is quite a magical feeling of inclusion that the reader this one at least feels among these characters.I highly recommend this book so that you can experience the harsh, but full lives of the Greenlanders as Smiley portrays them and be moved by the wonders and horror of human nature Humanity with all of its magnificent and ridiculous foibles is on full display. My favorite books are the books that I read at the right time Do those things happen or do we make them happen in our minds Bitin off than I can chew about this and that and Beowulf and Salom and then someone inserts Icelandic sagas and Christian influences thanks for trying to make some sense of what I m attempting to say and then I go off talking about that and then someone says no, Catholic influences and Tolkein and the Apocrypha and hey, are you going to Easter Mass Well there s a very good chance of that because I just can t say no to someone who s a historical scholar of some Protestant faith I didn t catch, and I don t feel like disagreeing with her that Jesus s word is the Truth because that s a can of apocrypha I don t even know how to approach, I m just a skr ling over here for lack of lexicon rowing in my skin boat through a fjord of conscious unconsciousness. This books begins with a strong premise, and interesting humanity versus nature story chronicling the decline of a settlement in Greenland, circa fifteenth sixteenth century.It would seem that whomever is responsible for editing this book needs to review basic paragraph structure and narrative flow Jane Smiley patches snippets of dialogue and multi year story events together between characters that may only appear once or twice.The character relationships are especially murky, due to the Norwegian method of naming For example, if you are the male son of Thor, your name would be Thorson This becomes compounded by the cyclic character naming spread out over many multi generational stories For example, there are two Ivar Asgeirsons and two Asgeir Ivarsons with scant contextual notes as to which is being discussed Take a few dozen Norwegian first names, add lots of death, disease, and famine, blend on high, and see how they recombine over the course of approximately 70 years A clear mental path to trace their individual threads, must involve lots of sticky notes and flipping back and forth Or a very very good memory for names without context.The paragraph structure was the worst part The roughly interwoven story lines move through two to six page long paragraphs Breaks between the story snippets are often only punctuated with phrasing such as And another thing that happened , with the occasional, and very inconsistent, paragraph break The inconsistency of the change in narrator, story thread, and notation of time frame, made this book extremely frustrating to follow, and the interrelation of numerous side characters baffling.This could have been a pleasantly dry story with a large cast of characters, but due to it structural difficulties, is very frustrating to follow After many instances of flipping back and forth trying to remember who did what and how it applied to the current story thread, I decided to give up It is possible that a reader who has the luxury to read this book in one sitting may be able to maintain the myriad narrative threads for long enough to find a cohesive story line I lack the patience for this particular book.This is the first Jane Smiley book I have read It seems dramatically different in depth of dialogue and character relationships than described by some of her fans I am unsure if this is one of her early works, before she had much of her structure worked out, or if this book might be a fluke I give this story a big thumbs down, with the hope that her other stories prove rewarding to the reader. I really don t even remember when I read this book that said, it was one of the most beautiful books I ve read Jane Smiley is an expert in Icelandic literature and sagas, which I know she once taught at University of Iowa she may still She chooses to use the prose style of these epic sagas to write her own saga of 14th c Vikings attempting to colonize Greenland This makes it a bit difficult to get into right at first, but just like with any writing style, you quickly adjust Just give it some time you will be well rewarded for your patience Another aspect of this book that I love is that her knowledge of the subject allows her to really show us what it must have been like to be there, living day to day within the Viking culture permeated by the hardships of Greenland This is one well researched book well, like all of Smiley s work concerning the details and minutiae of the period A must for history buffs Although I struggled to stick with this book in the first 100 pages, but I had read really good reviews on it so I stuck with it Soon I was hooked and I am glad I did The most interesting aspect of this story was the influence the Greenland s relative isolation had on their morals and religious beliefs The oral preservation of laws that tried to maintain their original ties to other norther countries maintained some continuity until lawspeaker Bjorn failed to pass them on and even failed As I read through the generations, I could see different families value and role in their community grow and diminish based on the actions of choices they made This was interesting because less individual value was assigned than in our culture Always they had a national identity that values supported, always family identity, and after the church lost power and the lawspeaker was murdered, the divided into regions defined by wealth This was fascinating I am going to real another Icelandic novel, but I will miss Margaret Gunnardottir I loved this book so much As with all books I really love, I can t say exactly why it was so absorbing A lot happens, but not in a page turning way, it s not funny at all, and while you do come to know and care about the characters, they are held at a certain remove from the reader But it s nearly 600 pages of awesomeness about a lost society I d never had any interest in before, and I loved every word of it It s about endurance and survival in a hostile landscape, in which human emotions love, grief, rage, passion are yet another inevitable, uncontrollable storm to be weathered In Greenland, if the famine doesn t kill you, a love affair surely will.