Virtual Book Talk: Salka Valka by Halldór Laxness with Philip Roughton & Doug McIntyre
Where: Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America
58 Park Ave.
212-779-3587 Price: Free
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On June 21, translator Philip Roughton joins us with Doug McIntyre for a discussion on celebrated Icelandic novelist and Nobel Prize Laureate Halldór Laxness’s novel Salka Valka, out June 7 in new translation from Archipelago!
On a winter night, an 11-year-old Salvör and her unmarried mother Sigurlína disembark at the remote, run-down fishing village of Óseyri, where life is “lived in fish and consists of fish.” The two struggle to make their way amidst the rough, salt-worn men of the town. After Sigurlína’s untimely death, Salvör pays for her funeral and walks home alone, precipitating her coming of age as a daring, strong-willed young woman who chops off her hair, earns her own wages, educates herself through political and philosophical texts, and soon becomes an advocate for the town’s working class, organizing a local chapter of the seamen’s union.
A feminist coming-of-age tale, an elegy to the plight of the working class and the corrosive effects of social and economic inequality, and a poetic window into the arrival of modernity in a tiny industrial town, Salka Valka is a novel of epic proportions, living and breathing with its vibrant cast of characters, filled with tenderness, humor, and remarkable pathos.
“Laxness brought the Icelandic novel out from the sagas’ shadow… to read Laxness is also to understand why he haunts Iceland—he writes the unearthly prose of a poet cased in the perfection of a shell of plot, wit, and clarity”—The Guardian