Independent People starts simply with a humble sheep farmer, Bjartur of Summerhouses, striking out on his own after saving for eighteen years to buy a croft. With a hard-nosed determination he fights to wrestle an independent living out of the unforgiving Icelandic landscape through mulish efforts and unstinting sacrifice of his life and family to achieve his goals.
What follows opens up in complexity and humanity, and becomes one of my favorite novels of all time.
An epic tragedy of human suffering, the novel somehow still shines forth the light of joy and hope, and, as many have said before, you cannot walk away from this book unchanged.
Laxness won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955.