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The stars of Constantinople : stories /
by Ólafur Jóhann Sigurdsson ; translated by Alan Boucher.
Baton Rouge ; London : Louisiana State University Press, 1992.
224 p.
0807117781 (cloth)
More Details
Baton Rouge ; London : Louisiana State University Press, 1992.
0807117781 (cloth)
contents note
The changing earth -- Pastor Bodvar's letter -- The stars of Constantinople -- Building pyramids -- Interruption -- An old narrative -- The padlock -- Crying on an autumn morning -- The hand -- The blind boy -- Journey home -- Fire.
general note
Collection of stories translated from Icelandic and previously published seperately.
catalogue key
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1992-08:
These 12 stories by one of Iceland's premier writers, a winner of the 1976 Nordic Council prize in literature, date from the 1940s to the 1970s. The stories mainly portray experiences of youth in a rural landscape. The first, a play on the seasons of love (with winter as death), concludes with the author stepping on the bus for Reykjavik. The title story concerns a boy's toy, which is destroyed in a fight with a sister; the boy's grief cannot be assuaged. Sigurdsson effectively depicts life's tragedies and harsh, unforgiving nature, fully justifying this translation and a reading by an English audience.-- Raymond Lindgren, California State Univ., Long Beach (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1993-02:
Olafur (Icelanders are known by their given names), one of Iceland's most artistic writers, came of age and began to flourish as a writer during the period of perhaps the greatest changes ever to take place within Icelandic society and economy. Seven of the twelve stories in this collection first appeared in the 1940s, three in the 1950s, and one each in 1960 and 1970. The prose in this collection reflects vividly the colors of the Icelandic landscape, its birdlife, geology, weather, and people. Several stories deal with the childhood and adolescent awakenings to love and a larger world beyond the home field of rural youth. Although Olafur won the Nordic Council prize for literature in 1976 primarily for two volumes of poetry, his prose works have been translated into at least 17 languages. Indeed, the longest of the stories in this collection, "The Changing Earth," appeared in an earlier translation by Boucher in 1979. The new translation has been made somewhat more American (e.g., truck driver instead of lorry driver), yet some readers will still be turning to their dictionaries occasionally. At least one Icelandic word is left untranslated and it is not certain the context will make it clear. And the rendering of the nearly pan-Scandinavian takk fyrir sidasta as "Thanks for the last time" falls flat in English and is even ambiguous to the unfamiliar reader. Nevertheless, these are well-wrought, fascinating tales that contribute a richly rewarding experience of a lesser-known literature. D. A. Hill; University of Wisconsin-Madison
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1992-07-20:
In these 12 skillfully crafted stories, a noted Icelandic poet and novelist contrasts the traditional values of his country's not-so-distant rural past with the new mores prompted by urbanization. Sigurdsson (1918-1988) builds his tales slowly, dramatizing the claustrophobic, parsimonious lives of ``the little people'' against the backdrop of a lyrically described landscape. In ``Pastor Bodvar's Letter,'' a timid, intellectual minister reviews the petty disappointments of his life shortly before dying, grudgingly realizing that the persistence of his coarse, overbearing wife has made his career possible. In the title story, a young farm boy is overcome with grief when his sister breaks a toy bought from a traveling salesman who, with his easy patter and stories of adventure, embodies the allure of the outside world. ``The Changing Earth'' describes the fluctuating emotions of a teenager falling in--and out--of love for the first time. These traditional narratives, informed with Sigurdsson's love of nature and ambivalence about rural life, evoke a land suspended in time. ( Sept. ) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, July 1992
Publishers Weekly, July 1992
Library Journal, August 1992
Choice, February 1993
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
The Changing Earthp. 1
Pastor Bodvar's Letterp. 53
The Stars of Constantinoplep. 104
Building Pyramidsp. 124
Interruptionp. 136
An Old Narrativep. 150
The Padlockp. 161
Crying on an Autumn Morningp. 178
The Handp. 184
The Blind Boyp. 189
Journey Homep. 201
Firep. 212
Translator's Afterwordp. 221
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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