All posts tagged: Archipelago Books

Book Review – ‘Wayward Heroes’

Title: Wayward Heroes Author: Halldór Laxness (translated by Phillip Roughton) Genre: Fiction (literary) Release date: 1st November, 2016 Rating: ★★★★ “This reworking of Iceland’s ancient tales, set against a backdrop of the medieval Norse world, complete with Viking raids, battles enshrined in skaldic lays, saints’ cults, clashes between secular and spiritual authorities, journeys to faraway lands and abodes of trolls, legitimate claimants and pretenders to thrones, was written during the post-WWII buildup to the Cold War, and Laxness uses it as a vehicle for a critique of global militarism and belligerent national posturing that was as rampant then as now. This he does purposefully, though indirectly, by satirizing the spirit of the old sagas, represented especially in the novel’s main characters, the sworn brothers Þormóður Bessason and Þorgeir Hávarsson, warriors who blindly pursue ideals that lead to the imposition of power through violent means. The two see the world around them only through a veil of heroic illusion covering their eyes: kings are fit either to be praised in poetry or toppled from their thrones, other men only to kill or be killed by, while women are more …

Book Review – ‘Tristano Dies: A Life’

Title: Tristano Dies: A Life Author: Antonio Tabucchi Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult) Release Date: September 29, 2015 Rating: ★★★ “It is a sultry August at the very end of the twentieth century, and Tristano is dying. A hero of the Italian Resistance, Tristano has called a writer to his bedside to listen to his life story, though, really, ‘you don’t tell a life…you live a life, and while you’re living it, it’s already lost, has slipped away.’ Tristano Dies, one of Antonio Tabucchi’s major novels, is a vibrant consideration of love, war, devotion, betrayal, and the instability of the past, of storytelling, and what it means to be a hero.” When I saw Tristano Dies: A Life on NetGalley and read the description, it immediately piqued my interest – not only did it fit in with my translations kick I was on at the time (and am still on), it also sounded really good. But I’m going to be honest and say that I found this really hard to read. So hard in fact, that I had …