World Light
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World Light

Halldor Laxness, Magnus Magnusson

This dense, mystical novel features the sort of quixotic anti-hero Laxness specializes in - in this case, a failed poet named Olaf Karason. Olaf is an outsider in a society that admires poetry, but scorns poets. The narrative takes him on a series of adventures both miraculous and brutally realistic, as he searches for beauty amid the squalor and ugliness of his life in rural Iceland. After being released from prison he falls in love with a young girl he idealizes as his image of poetic beauty, but having found what he’d been searching for, in seeking to possess her he destroys her. Woven throughout WORLD LIGHT is Laxness’s usual gallery of vivid characters, and his signature combination of brutality and tenderness, his ultimately compassionate satire.

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