Nordic book club: Englar alheimsins

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tiia
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Re: Nordic book club: Englar alheimsins

Postby tiia » Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:58 pm

Amazon never had any "real" Finnish book section, because there is no Finnish Amazon. They have very few books in the language (not counting books for learning the language or machine translations).
You can try the bookstores listed on the Finnish profile. Going to the very bottom of the page and scrolling up, is the fastest way to find the list of bookshops.

But as I wrote here:
Btw. Akateeminen kirjakauppa, Suomalainen and Adlibris stopped shipping outside Finland quite recently. (Adlibris has onlinestores for other nordic countries though.) I don't know whether they will start this service again. Another site for buying finnish books would be booky.fi. It's not yet in the list.

I checked a few months ago that you can find the book at antikvaari.fi. International shipping is usually possible, but of course not very cheap.

-----
I'm not yet sure whether I participate this time or not. Depending on your speed and my available time and motivation I might join later on. It's just that I don't get any reading done right now.
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Re: Nordic book club: Englar alheimsins

Postby caam_imt » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:13 am

I've read the first chapter, how's everyone else doing? I had to look up many words, but so far so good.
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Re: Nordic book club: Englar alheimsins

Postby Soffía » Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:51 pm

Apologies for my very late arrival to the thread. I completely lost track of time. I've now read the first section, most of it while listening to the author's reading. He's a bit... deliberate in his interpretation but it's good to try to read along with.

How is everyone finding it? Personally I love the vividness of the imagery in the novel: the foggy, wet day by the sea when the narrator sees a father taking his son to Kleppur; his mother's dream, which is just like a prophetic dream out of one of the sagas; his father driving around with a car full of imported (smuggled?) bras ('brjóstahaldari') while his wife is in labour; the thrown rocks and teargas at the NATO protests, like what Ingolfur saw when he gave Reykjavik its name; the father crying over his newborn son, not knowing whether it's the teargas or the child.

You wouldn't think that joining NATO would be such an ominous anniversary but this is such an Icelandic novel. Everything set in the twentieth century (well, not 'Sjálfstætt fólk') seems to be about the country's dramatic wartime and postwar transformation. Even though the narrator is born after the war and comes of age a good bit later, and even though he doesn't give us the full history of his family as is traditional in Icelandic autobiographies, it still forms the backdrop for everything that follows.

Anyway, I promise to be more prompt next week...
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Re: Nordic book club: Englar alheimsins

Postby caam_imt » Sun Nov 13, 2016 9:33 pm

I thought the part where Páll's uncle went to have a word with his "father" was rather amusing. I also liked a lot the description of his mother's dream. Is anybody else reading this in Swedish?
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Re: Nordic book club: Englar alheimsins

Postby daegga » Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:56 pm

So far I've been reading one chapter per week, but I'm too lazy to look anything up, so I fear I've missed quite a lot - all those time jumps don't help either. I've now bought the Danish audiobook and will pre-listen each chapter before reading it in Icelandic. Might throw me a week back until I've caught up listening from the beginning.
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Re: Nordic book club: Englar alheimsins

Postby Soffía » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:03 am

Here we are again...

Daegga, it's very intrepid of you to give it a try in Icelandic! I'm sure I'm missing a lot too, but now that I think of it, I'd read it in English before my first read in Icelandic. So that obviously was a help.

I've been thinking about why I enjoy this novel. Although the time jumps obviously make it somewhat difficult to follow, I admire the way that it builds up a mood and a wider picture using these scattered pieces of memory. Each small vignette seems freighted with slightly more meaning than it would have in isolation. Particularly these small glimpses we get of Kleppur, the mental hospital, in Pall's early childhood. (It's a real place: https://is.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleppssp%C3%ADtali) Maybe we're also getting a view that is slanted by Pall's mental illness. It somehow manages to be funny and dark and immediate and distant almost simultaneously. And there's the weirdness of characters like Baldvin King of the Britons... does anyone have thoughts on that encounter?

In addition I like the descriptions of the Icelandic weather, the sea, the landscape, the cold of night and the stars. Or maybe I just think "frostkrap" is a great word.

Interesting to read people's reviews on GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4626 ... e_Universe

A few questions going forward:
  • Is it just the three of us that are planning to take part in the discussion at this point? Me, Daegga and caam_innt? I'm wondering whether there are a lot of people who haven't been able to track down the book after all, or maybe people have looked at it and decided that it's not their sort of read?
  • What is the best way to think about structuring the discussion? Are we primarily aiming to discuss the content of the book, or to talk about what the process of reading in our language of choice is like for us? Or do we want to go for a much more in-depth approach, where we pick out particular turns of phrase, think about their meaning, maybe compare how they've been translated into different languages? If we're going ahead with the discussion it would be good to think about how we can make it both useful and fun.
  • Chapter 3 is quite short so I'm wondering what people think about discussing both 3 and 4 next week.
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Re: Nordic book club: Englar alheimsins

Postby Iversen » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:26 pm

It's the only book in modern Icelandic I have read from A to Z - but at the time I didn't understand much of it, and I didn't have a translation. Nevertheless it takes something to drag me to even touch a novel in any language so it must have been interesting. Good luck to those who take on this challenge!
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Re: Nordic book club: Englar alheimsins

Postby daegga » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:30 pm

I've caught up, so chaper 4 until this weekend seems fine to me.
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Re: Nordic book club: Englar alheimsins

Postby Soffía » Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:49 pm

Apologies, it's been a hectic week so I've had no time to compose a post for chapters 3 and 4. But if anyone reading along wants to discuss the book, do jump in! I'll be keeping an eye on the thread.
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Re: Nordic book club: Englar alheimsins

Postby hhiusa » Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:00 pm

tiia wrote:Amazon never had any "real" Finnish book section, because there is no Finnish Amazon. They have very few books in the language (not counting books for learning the language or machine translations).
You can try the bookstores listed on the Finnish profile. Going to the very bottom of the page and scrolling up, is the fastest way to find the list of bookshops.


That is interesting. I feel as though they translate more books into Finnish and Danish than into Swedish.
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