Our friends over at Asymptote have just published an extract of our forthcoming Wayward Heroes by Halldór Laxness and translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton. The novel by the only Icelandic Nobel Laureate is slated for release November 1st. You can read the full extract here.
Justin Taylor recently had this to say about Wayward Heroes in Harper’s Magazine:
“Brilliant, bleak, uproariously funny, and still alarmingly prescient, Wayward Heroes belongs in the pantheon of the antiwar novel alongside such touchstones as Slaughterhouse-Five and Catch-22.”
Here’s the beginning of the extract. You even have the option to read the original Icelandic on the Asymptote site if you should feel so inclined.
“Chieftain Vermundur had a kinsman named Bessi, the son of Halldór. He lived at Laugaból, a short distance from Vatnsfjörður. Bessi was highly versed in poetry and law and was popular with everyone, but not very well-to-do. He and Vermundur were not only related but also good friends—Bessi often accompanied Vermundur when he had business to attend to, either at the Alþingi or elsewhere. Bessi’s wife had passed away before this story begins, but he had a young son named Þormóður. The lad soon proved to be quick-witted, if somewhat sharp-tongued. From his father he learned poetry and other arts, and even at an early age could relate much lore of the Northern kings and jarls most intrepid in war and other noble pursuits, as well as of the Æsir, the Völsungar, the Ylfingar, and the renowned heroes who wrestled with ogresses. In addition, the lad had excellent knowledge of the great passions men shared with women in the world’s first days, when Brynhildur slept on the mountain, and he knew stories of the swans that flew from the south and alighted on the headlands, cast off their dresses, and spun men’s fates. What is more, he was fluent in the uncanny lore predicting the end of the peopled world and the twilight of the Gods.”