Saga: A Novel of Medieval Iceland

Overview

This retelling of the ancient Saga of the People of Eyri is a modern classic. Absolutely gripping and compulsively readable, Booklist said this book, "does what good historical fiction is supposed to do: put a face on history that is recognizable to all." And medieval expert Tom Shippey, writing for the Times Literary Supplement said, "Sagas look like novels superficially, in their size and layout and plain language, but making their narratives into novels is a trick which has proved beyond most who have tried ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $5.81   
  • New (4) from $10.15   
  • Used (5) from $5.81   

Overview

This retelling of the ancient Saga of the People of Eyri is a modern classic. Absolutely gripping and compulsively readable, Booklist said this book, "does what good historical fiction is supposed to do: put a face on history that is recognizable to all." And medieval expert Tom Shippey, writing for the Times Literary Supplement said, "Sagas look like novels superficially, in their size and layout and plain language, but making their narratives into novels is a trick which has proved beyond most who have tried it. Janoda's Saga provides a model of how to do it: pick out the hidden currents, imagine how they would seem to peripheral characters, and as with all historical novels, load the narrative with period detail drawn from the scholars. No better saga adaptation has been yet written."
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Janoda paints a richly textured portrait of Icelandic culture... a gripping re-creation of an ancient genre." — Kirkus Reviews

"[Saga]... does what good historical fiction is supposed to do: put a face on history that is recognizable to all." — Booklist

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780897335683
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Pages: 361
  • Sales rank: 994,567
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Jeff Janoda is a teacher in Ontario, Canada, where he lives with his wife and two children. He has published short stories in Aboriginal Science Fiction magazine, and several online and printed reviews of movies and books. This is his first novel.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2005

    Powerful and Compelling

    As a lover of the Icelandic sagas, and fiction that aims to emulate them, I awaited my copy of this novel with a burning impatience. It finally came and I plunged right in. I was not disappointed. Jeff Janoda has written a fine piece of fiction, moving and powerful and true to the feel and spirit of the old sagas. As a writer of this sort of fiction myself (well, I've written one novel along these lines, anyway), I came to this one with some preconceptions, some personal prejudices. Indeed, I would not have approached the material as Janoda did, preferring to hew a closer line to the original saga voice, myself. But Janoda won me over. While retaining the modern novelistic conventions, many of which stray far afield from the old saga techniques, Janoda brilliantly evoked the older saga form from which this novel arises. Here is the story of Arnkel Thorolfsson's feud with the famed Snorri Thorgrimsson, Snorri the Priest, the sly Icelandic chieftain who appears in so many of the great sagas (Njal's Saga, Laxdaela Saga). This particular tale is from the Eyrbyggja Saga and is only one of several interwoven plots found there. But Janoda has teased it out and put flesh on the bare saga bones, creating a rich and compelling modern novel of real human beings contending with one another in a harsh and unforgiving land. In the process he has recreated that world in all the rich detail and grim coloration that is only limned in the traditional sagas. The beauty of what he's done is seen from the start as we enter the mind and heart of Ulfar Freedman, former slave of a local farmer who ekes out his livelihood on a holding that lies adjacent to Arnkel Thorolfsson's steading and that of Arnkel's father, the brutal and vindictive Thorolf Lamefoot. In the sagas we tend to see everything from the point of view of the great men, the chiefs (called godhis) and their kinsmen and retainers. But Janoda's book, presented initially through the eyes of Ulfar, gives us these great ones as they may really have been, overbearing, harsh and altogether heedless of the lesser folk around them. Arnkel has his chieftanship as the result of a deal in which his father, Thorolf, sold Ulfar his property in order to buy Arnkel his position (chieftainships could be bought and sold in old Iceland). But Arnkel, who is not only proud and fierce but a good deal cleverer than his father, sees that his chieftainship came at a very great cost, the break-up and diminution of Thorolf's land holdings, thus impairing Arnkel's future inheritance. Arnkel is not prepared to pay such a price, even for the chieftanship, and wants his full inheritance back. In fact, Thorolf, Arnkel's father, actually gained his formerly vast landholdings by killing Arnkel's grandfather in a duel after brutalizing and abandoning Arnkel's mother, the old man's proud and arrogant daughter, Gudrid. Gudrid, for her part, desperately wants her father's lands back in their entirety, too, wishing only ill on Thorolf, her former husband and tormentor, and has raised Arnkel with these things in mind. And thus the hapless and gentle Ulfar finds himself an unwitting pawn in a struggle that pits Arnkel against his father, and father and son against Ulfar's own former master, Thorbrand and his six sons. Though neighbors of Arnkel godhi, the Thorbrandssons are aligned with the famous Snorri of Helgafell, in hopes of counterbalancing Arnkel's growing strength in their district. Old Thorbrand, Ulfar's former master, also has designs on Ulfar's farm since, under Icelandic law, it reverts to him as the former master, if Ulfar dies without an heir. But Ulfar has found himself a wife and thus inadvertently set in motion the wheels that will grind him into dust between these harsh men. The story unfolds with much greater focus and depth than is found in the original sagas and this is part of its genius. Janoda has found what may very well be the true story of human struggle, in its endless comple

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2005

    A Compelling, Desperate Saga

    Jeff Janoda's wonderfully crafted retelling of the ancient Icelandic Sagas is a perfect example of what a skilled writer can do to bring history alive. This tale of ruthless fueds between competing clans is neatly interwoven with fantastical elements like spririts and elves. The story effortlessly melds together the daily fight to survive in a harsh land, with incredible insights into the beliefs that shaped the creation of a distinct culture and society in Iceland. Whether describing human treachery or the spirit world, Janoda effortlessly holds the readers attention. This book will appeal to both lovers of history and those with an interest in how the supernatural affects human beings, particularly those who have grown weary of the cookie cutter volumes crowding bookstore shelves. Highly recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2005

    Earthy Epic

    I did not want this book to end. Such a sweeping vision of this harsh landscape and its people was depicted by Mr. Janoda that the reader utilizes all of their senses to soak in this epic story. The daily tastes, smells, textiles and rituals of the first inhabitants of Iceland are woven into an epic story of ambition, lust, revenge and calculated power plays. Reminiscent of The Godfather with broadswords. The author depicts a surprisingly delicate feminine insight in his strong female characters surrounded by the savagery of the time. Great Read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)