World Light

By Halldor Laxness
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375727573, 624pp.)

Publication Date: October 8, 2002

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Description

As an unloved foster child on a farm in rural Iceland, Olaf Karason has only one consolation: the belief that one day he will be a great poet. The indifference and contempt of most of the people around him only reinforces his sense of destiny, for in Iceland poets are as likely to be scorned as they are to be revered. Over the ensuing years, Olaf comes to lead the paradigmatic poet’s life of poverty, loneliness, ruinous love affairs and sexual scandal. But he will never attain anything like greatness.
As imagined by Nobel Prize winner Halldor Laxness in this magnificently humane novel, what might be cruel farce achieves pathos and genuine exaltation. For as Olaf’s ambition drives him onward–and into the orbits of an unstable spiritualist, a shady entrepreneur, and several susceptible women–World Light demonstrates how the creative spirit can survive in even the most crushing environment and even the most unpromising human vessel.




About the Author

Halladór Laxness was born near Reykjavík, Iceland, in 1902. His first novel was published when he wsa 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.




Praise For World Light

"[Laxness is] a poet who writes to the edge of the pages, a visionary who allows us a plot: He takes a Tolstoyan overview, he weaves in an Evelyn Waugh-like humor: it is not possible to be unimpressed.” -- Daily Telegraph (London)

“[An author of] compassionate, scathing novels.” –Annie Dillard, The New York Times Book Review

"[Laxness is] a poet who writes to the edge of the pages, a visionary who allows us a plot: He takes a Tolstoyan overview, he weaves in an Evelyn Waugh-like humor: it is not possible to be unimpressed.” -- Daily Telegraph (London)

“Laxness is a brilliant writer.” --The Washington Post

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