Halldor Laxness, the prodigal son of Icelandic literature, made a distinct stylistic change with this novel, moving from long post-Naturalist tragedies of the outlying regions of Iceland to a fast-paced and often funny romp through Reykavik.
This novel tells the story of the protest surrounding the founding of an American military base in Iceland. The story is told through the eyes of a young, naive servant girl from the country, who, shortly after moving to the city, finds herself surrounded by poets, protesting Socialist students, and Icelandic and American government officials. The girl loses her innocence but gains, not knowledge of the world, but rather entry to the modern world.
Laxness is one of the largely-ignored greats (possibly doomed to obscurity by winning the Nobel prize for literature), and this novel is a fantastic entry into the canon of postmodern literature.
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