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Het visconcert – tekijä: H. Laxness
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Het visconcert (vuoden 2008 painos)

– tekijä: H. Laxness (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
5351933,906 (4.07)98
Abandoned as a baby, Alfgrimur is content to spend his days as a fisherman living in the turf cottage outside Reykjavik with the elderly couple he calls grandmother and grandfather. There he shares the mid-loft with a motley bunch of eccentrics and philosophers who find refuge in the simple respect for their fellow men that is the ethos at the Brekkukot. But the narrow horizons of Alfgrimur's idyllic childhood are challenged when he starts school and meets Iceland's most famous singer, the mysterious Garoar Holm. Garoar encourages him to aim for the 'one true note', but how can he attain it without leaving behind the world that he loves?… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:huizenga
Teoksen nimi:Het visconcert
Kirjailijat:H. Laxness (Tekijä)
Info:Geus, Uitgeverij De (Harde kaft)
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):****
Avainsanoja:roman

Teoksen tarkat tiedot

Lapsuuden maisema (tekijä: Halldór Laxness)

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» Katso myös 98 mainintaa

englanti (17)  hollanti (1)  norja (1)  Kaikki kielet (19)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 19) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Solid, if a bit unfocused. I confess I'm not very keen on short novels that have digressions in them; if you're going to digress, do it properly! Or just write a great novella about a young man's artistic awakening, and his attempt to square the urge to create art with the certain knowledge that you're going to fail. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
Alfgrimur's mother left him in the home of a man and woman in Brekkukot when he was born and before she left to pursue dreams in America. His "grandfather" was a fisherman, specializing in lumpfish. His grandmother, who was not married to the grandfather but kept his house, seemed to always be up,never sleeping, but attending to the needs of the grandfather, Alfgrimur, and other guests. Alfgrimur grew up wanting nothing more than to follow in his grandfather's shoes as a lumpfisherman. Alfgrimur had a nice voice and was often asked to sing at funerals. Gardar Holm grew up in the village known as Georg, but he left to pursue a career in music years before. Alfgrimur is sent to the university where he meets Holm, but he eventually returns to Brekukkot. His grandfather wishes him to become a clergyman; others want him to become a singer; he would be content to be a lumpfisherman. The novel takes place in the days when Iceland is forging its identity. Of course, the parallel is that Alfgimur is forging his own identity at the same time. It's not really that long of a novel, but its reading should not be rushed in order to savor the imagery and depths of the novel. It's a coming of age story of both Alfgrimur and Iceland. ( )
  thornton37814 | Jan 6, 2017 |
Oh man, I could quote bits of Icelandic novelist Halldor Laxness to you all day long, making this book seem like just a string of bon mots, but that would be doing The Fish Can Sing a great disservice even though it probably would make you want to drop everything and read it. Laxness is a funny, funny writer, in that surreal and dry Scandanavian way that always makes me feel like I'm missing what's really funny about it but grasping just enough to laugh anyway. For example, describing some pictures on his adopted family's walls, the narrator says "these people had achieved 'good times' in America, as the saying went, which consisted of clearing away boulders and uprooting tree-stumps or digging ditches, and then posing in collar and tie in a photographer's studio."

This book is usually described as a coming of age story, but what I have found in its pages is a lot of sly discourse on how we place values on things, of economics as a sort of cargo cult, and on modernity as something more risible than desirable.* So we have the narrator's grandfather stubbornly charging the same price for his lumpfish whatever the market might say they're worth, an equally stubborn transaction in which a bible salesman offers a cheaply printed one in exchange for lodging but that same grandfather clings to the old saw that a bible's price is one cow, and the narrator himself amusingly detailing how his repeated violations of a stretch of barbed wire fence are adding up to his having ducked enough fines to buy all of the chocolate that has ever been imported into Iceland "even counting caramels as well." There is way more of this sort of thing, at any rate, than of the typical idyllic/tragic boyhood tale of home, though there are bits of that as well; the little place at Brekkukot where the narrator grows up with his adopted grandparents is quite an extraordinary place, and one at which anyone is welcome for any length of time. Yeah, his grandparents are kind of proto-hippies like that.

And of course, eventually our hero is sent away from this weird idyll. The trigger there, more or less, is an opera singer who comes from the same settlement where the narrator grew up and who now "travels."** Once this large-living man has come on the scene, nothing is the same again, but not because the boy whom he regards as "more myself than I am" wants to follow in his footsteps; the singer is merely a herald for change. Before the boy knows it, he is being sent to school to learn Latin by rote because that will make him an educated man (shades of George Orwell's "Such, Such Were the Joys" there, but with a lot more humor of course) and thrown into a larger world that doesn't want to let him be a lumpfisherman like his grandfather but doesn't seem to have any real idea of what it does want from him.

Which is fine with him.

What makes The Fish Can Sing most striking overall, whatever its other charms, is that strange element I mentioned above, the peculiar thoughts about economics present throughout. Given what became of Iceland after it, as the economists I can't stop reading like to put it, "stopped fishing and started banking" I can't help but see this novel as a sort of subtle treatise on how all that went wrong. If lots of Icelanders were like the characters in this story (a particular anecdote comes to mind from the novel, in which the famous singer eats a whole tray of creme cakes at a bakery and tries to pay with a single gold coin, which is more money than the bakery girl has ever seen and she is so frightened to have that much money in one place that she won't accept the coin and essentially just lets him go without paying at all -- and the coin haunts the rest of the story in various peculiar ways) perhaps what happened there in the early 21st century isn't really much of a surprise?

At any rate, this is a most peculiar novel, and while it kept me entertained and chuckling, as it came to its strangely airless end, I was left with the most peculiar feeling that the joke had been on me -- and that I hadn't gotten it at all.

Ah, me.

*The story is set in Rekjavik before it was Rekjavik, when the land there was still mostly stone-and-turf houses and cow pastures, and follows the city's and the narrator's gradual transformation from bucolic youth to bustling and busy adulthood. Along the way, there is a lot to mock.

**Grandmother has convinced our hero that "traveling" is a punishment and a sin all rolled into one, so convincing him to do it is no mean feat. ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
An endearing coming-of-age story, told with Icelandic restraint and irony. This would make a great introductory book to anyone looking to try Halldór Laxness, or book to read while travelling in Iceland. In this story, young Álfgrímur grows up and tries to find his place in the world, prefers to be a simple lumpfisherman, but is sent off to school by his ‘grandfather’ nonetheless. He is drawn to a relation (possibly his father), Garðar Hólm, who has become a recognized ‘world singer’, but who always seems to disappoint when he returns home.

There is a parallel with both men (Álfgrímur and Garðar) to Iceland as a nation trying to forge an identity for itself, being a small country little known in the world, and following centuries of Danish domination. There is also a parallel to Laxness himself, who became a world celebrity when he had won the Nobel Prize in 1955, two years before The Fish Can Sing was published.

The novel highlights the hidden, quiet virtues of ordinary Icelanders, those without ambition or ego, and has some great chapters which serve as vignettes of Álfgrímur’s experiences. It also evokes some of the interesting aspects of life in Iceland, just a few of which were open cesspools near houses, which ‘drowned more Icelanders than the sea’, low ceilinged living rooms with windows of coarse, slightly blue glass with air bubbles and other flaws in it, and the practice of trying to cure headaches by stopping up one’s nostrils with cow dung. Yikes. Oh, and this one: “the only insult that can really rile an Icelander is to be called a Dane”.

Quotes:
On memories:
“Curiosity can be called a virtue or a vice, depending on what kind of elementary ethics one reads; in our house at Brekkukot, curiosity was considered on a par with thievishness. But now, when all the parties to these confidences are gone elsewhere and that world is no more, and I am the only one left, the spirits rise up from the well of oblivion. People and pictures from a vanished world are reincarnated and assume a significance which was hidden at the time.”

And this one:
“Oh, most of the things I am told about fame and such-like go right over my head, although I’m rather fond of singing. I’m so bound to Brekkukot, somehow. I have always hoped to be allowed to become a lumpfisherman; and I know that when I am ninety and have lost all sight, hearing, sense of smell, taste, and feeling, I shall sit in a corner somewhere and think about when I was seeing to the lumpfish-nets with my grandfather in Skerjafjordur late in the winter before another living soul was up and about, and there was no glimmer of light anywhere except in one little cottage on Alftanes.”

On money:
“I think that our own standard had its origins in my grandfather’s conviction that the money which people consider theirs by right was unlawfully accumulated, or counterfeit, if it exceeded the average income of the working man; and therefore that all great wealth was inconsistent with common sense. I can remember him saying often that he would never accept more money than he had earned.”

On oneness, this from the ‘superintendent’, who leads a very humble life by choice:
“I sold up all my possessions in order to pursue this vocation. I know you will understand, when you start to think about it, that I cannot find it disgusting work to pursue a vocation from a good god. The only disgusting work there is, is badly done work. The world is One, and mankind is One, and therefore work too is only One; there can be a difference in workmanship, but not in work.”

On parents, or in this case, his ‘grandmother’, who raised him:
“All the same, it was probably she who brought me up, so far as I have been brought up at all; at least, I believe that she had a greater part than several other people in making me the way I am. But it was not until after I was fully grown that I noticed her sufficiently to feel that I really saw her. Suddenly one day I simply felt that she was probably closer to me than anyone else and despite the fact that she had been in her grave for some time by then. It is anything but easy trying to speak of a person one knows so little about but who is nevertheless so close to one.”

On religion:
“Or did people perhaps become pastors in Iceland on the sober advice of some grandfather who, because of some caprice of the history of religion, read Vidalin’s Book of Sermons on Sundays instead of sacrificing to the bird Colibri, the bull Apis, or the idol Ra?” ( )
1 ääni gbill | Jan 4, 2016 |
This is a delightful and low key kunstlerroman, narrated by Álfgrímur, an orphan brought up by two old people whom he calls his grandparents. They live in a turf cottage called Brekkukot, just outside of Reykjavik, where all travellers, philosophers and lost souls are welcome. He learns the fishing trade from his grandfather, who nevertheless insists that he get an education. When the pastor discovers him singing in the meadow, he enlists his services to sing at the burials of the poor and unknown, as he had earlier enlisted a boy who grew up to be the enigmatic Garðar Holm, a world renowned Icelandic singer.

It is tempting to see Laxness exploring his own artistic journey and conflicting views of his fame in the dualities of Álfgrímur and Garðar. Laxness pokes gentle and not-so-gentle fun at Icelandic insularity, religion, Danes, and the emerging bourgeois middle-class. But at the heart of this book is Álfgrímur's grandmother: "Suddenly one day I simply felt that she was probably closer to me than anyone else in the world, even though I knew less about her than anyone else...."

In his Nobel acceptance speech, Laxness said of his grandmother:
“... the moral principles she (his grandmother) instilled in me: never to harm a living creature; throughout my life, to place the poor, the humble, the meek of this world above all others; never to forget those who were slighted or neglected or who had suffered injustice, because it was they who, above all others, deserved our love and respect...” ( )
2 ääni janeajones | Sep 26, 2015 |
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (15 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Laxness, Halldórensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Castelein, P.Kääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Magnusson, MagnusKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Otten, MarcelJälkisanatmuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Otten, MarcelKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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Abandoned as a baby, Alfgrimur is content to spend his days as a fisherman living in the turf cottage outside Reykjavik with the elderly couple he calls grandmother and grandfather. There he shares the mid-loft with a motley bunch of eccentrics and philosophers who find refuge in the simple respect for their fellow men that is the ethos at the Brekkukot. But the narrow horizons of Alfgrimur's idyllic childhood are challenged when he starts school and meets Iceland's most famous singer, the mysterious Garoar Holm. Garoar encourages him to aim for the 'one true note', but how can he attain it without leaving behind the world that he loves?

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