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christianity at glacier helgafell 1972 Christianity at Glacier by Halldor Laxness. Reykjavik. 1972. Helgafell. Translated from the Icelandic by Magnus Magnusson. 268 pages.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   A youthful emissary of the Bishop of Iceland goes to the beautiful and mysterious district under Glacier to investigate the local state of Christianity and the puzzling affairs of the pastor. The story is the young man's report to the bishop about some extraordinary happenings at Glacier and the remarkable characters whom he encounters during his investigations. - In this strange region all accepted distinctions between past and present, the natural and the supernatural seem at times to disappear. Pastor Jon Primus, the delinquent minister, turns out to be, among other things, a kind of holy man, with a mind that is highly elusive to the young academician. Completely neglectful of the formalities of his office, he is the parish jack-of-all-trades who repairs primitive utensils and shoes horses for all corners. Pastor Jon has a profound respect for life on earth and none at all for theory and philosophy which he describes as so many fables. As to theology, he will typically ask you to consider the lilies of the field. His capacity for destroying a logical argument is unsurpassed. Yet he has a worthy antagonist in the friend of his youth. Gudmundur Sigmundsson, now Dr. Godman Syngmann, the great guru, cosmopolitan engineer. super-businessman. angler and cosmobiologist extraordinary whose appearance at Glacier adds greatly to the confusion of the young man's mission. And finally There is Ua, the lady whose mysterious presence pervades the story: Who is she? The pastor's bride who ran away a long time ago with Dr. Synqmann? A former nun? The erstwhile madam of a sporting house in Buenos Aires? An ‘old-fashioned witch'?. A ghost? The mythical Bitch Goddess herself? Dr. Syndmann's scientifically produced re-incarnation? For some time shells very much a real woman. And then, at the end, she vanishes, mockingly, with the elusiveness of life itself. CHRISTIANITY AT GLACIER is a highly complex work, and Mr. Laxness has rarely been more entertaining and brilliantly inventive. From one point of view, it is a strangely timeless fable of modern times. It is also a novel of great philosophical and theological wit, set against a magically invoked background of nature.

 

 

Laxness Halldor Halldor Laxness was born near Reykjavik, 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. 

 


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