Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

The Saga of the People of Laxardal

Ice; Laxardal; PCSaga of Icelanders

This book is included in The Icelanders Cometh crowdfunding campaign run by the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign to raise money for UK libraries to spend on titles translated into English by Icelandic authors to mark World Book Night and UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day.


The action of the saga takes place at the end of the tenth century, at about the time Scandinavia was converting from worship of Norse gods to Christianity. A masterpiece of medieval literature, the story focuses on two families ― that of Hoskuld, a prominent farmer with several sons, and that of Gudrun Ósvífrsdóttir, the most beautiful woman ever born in Iceland.

The saga particularly focuses on a love triangle between Guðrún, Kjartan Ólafsson and Bolli Thorleiksson. Kjartan and Bolli grow up together as close friends but the love they both have for Guðrún causes enmity between them and, in the end, their deaths.

Second only to Njáls Saga in the number of medieval manuscripts preserved, The Saga of the People of Laxardal (Laxdæla Saga) remains popular and appreciated for its poetic beauty and pathetic sentiment. As the saga has often been regarded as an unusually feminine account, it has been speculated that it was composed by a woman.