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Publisher's Summary

A fresh translation of Nobel Prize-winning author Halldor Laxness's modernist masterpiece, Salka Valka.

A feminist coming of age tale, an elegy to the plight of the working class and the corrosive effects of social and economic inequality, and a poetic window into the arrival of modernity in a tiny industrial town, Salka Valka is a novel of epic proportions, living and breathing with its expansive cast of characters, filled with tenderness, humor, and remarkable pathos. 

On a mid-winter night, an eleven-year-old Salvör and her unmarried mother Sigurlina disembark at the remote, run-down fishing village of Óseyri, where life is "lived in fish and consists of fish." The two women struggle to make their way amidst the domineering, salt-worn men of the town and their unsolicited attention, and, after Sigurlina's untimely death, Salvör pays for her funeral and walks home alone, precipitating her coming of age as a daring, strong-willed young woman who chops off her hair, earns her own wages, educates herself through political and philosophical texts, and, most significantly, becomes an advocate for the town's working class, ultimately organizing a local chapter of the seamen's union.

©2022 the Estate of Halldór Laxness; Translation copyright 2022 by Philip Roughton (P)2022 Tantor

What listeners say about Salka Valka

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