Do all Laxness' novels end in a mood of despair? I am beginning to wonder. Perhaps despair is wrong; instead, stoicism, since one might as well carry on in the face of hopelessness, even if the story isn't going to.
This is my fifth Laxness and, like Christianity At Glacier, I feel like reading it again right away, precisely because it is rather bizarre. The taciturnity and eccentricity of the Icelanders is a continual source of fascination, in some respects admiration. A north country girl goes to work in the house of her MP down south. She finds much that is strange and reprehensible, much that is rewarding and exhilarating, in that most extraordinary of cities, Reykjavik. Ultimately she returns home to give birth, but by then the city has changed her and a burgeoning sense of self causes her to pack her bags and go out again in search of her true place in the world.
Short and very readable, sometimes funny, as suitable a place to begin an exploration of Iceland's favourite novelist as Independent People. If you're entirely new to Icelandic literature, maybe take a look at the book most referred to in The Atom Station - Njal's Saga (also translated by M. Magnusson).