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Iceland's Bell - by Halldór Laxness

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Sometimes grim, sometimes uproarious, and always captivating, IcelandÉs Bell by Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness is at once an updating of the traditional Icelandic saga and a caustic social satire. At the close of the 17th century, Iceland is an oppressed Danish colony, suffering under extreme poverty, famine, and plague. farmer and accused cord-thief named Jon Hreggvidsson makes a bawdy joke about the Danish king and soon after finds himself a fugitive charged with the murder of the kings hangman. In the years that follow, the hapless but resilient rogue Hreggvidsson becomes a pawn entangled in political and personal conflicts playing out on a far grander scale. Chief among these is the star-crossed love affair between
Snaefridur, known as Iceland's Sun, a beautiful, headstrong young noblewoman, and
Arnas Arnaeus, the king's antiquarian, an aristocrat whose worldly manner conceals a
fierce devotion to his downtrodden countrymen.