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Authors: Jane Smiley

Tags: #Greenland, #Historical, #Greenland - History, #General, #Literary, #Historical Fiction, #Fiction, #Medieval, #Middle Ages, #History

The Greenlanders

BOOK: The Greenlanders
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Acclaim for Jane Smiley’s
The         
Greenlanders

“Wonderful.… A historical novel with the nearness of contemporary fiction.”


The New Republic

“A powerful, moving study of human frailty and the ephemeral nature of courage and love.”

—USA Today

“Exceptional.… Smiley’s fascination for the novel-yet-doomed settlers of
The Greenlanders
is entirely infectious.”


The Boston Globe

“Extraordinary.… An elegant elegy for a mute people.… Evidence of the flowering of an exceptional literary mind.”


The Philadelphia Inquirer

“A saga in the original sense of the word. It is everything this literary form suggests … and more.… Still, the novel is unmistakably modern. Nowhere is it more contemporary than in Smiley’s choice of protagonist. Margret is one tough woman.”

—Chicago Tribune

“A fine, fine piece of writing … robust and deeply satisfying.… She has brought us one of the most remarkable, accomplished, finely written and moving novels of our decade.”


St. Petersburg Times

Jane Smiley
The         
Greenlanders

Jane Smiley is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of
A Thousand Acres
and more than ten other works of fiction, including
Good Faith, Horse Heaven
, and
Moo
, as well as a critically acclaimed biography of Charles Dickens. In 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in northern California.

Also by Jane Smiley

FICTION

Good Faith
Horse Heaven
The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton
Moo
A Thousand Acres
Ordinary Love & Good Will
The Age of Grief
Duplicate Keys
At Paradise Gate
Barn Blind

NONFICTION

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel
A Year at the Races
Charles Dickens
Catskill Crafts

The Greenlanders
was conceived while I was abroad in Iceland, in 1976 and 1977, on a Fulbright-Hays Full Grant for Study Abroad. I am indebted to the program for that support.

I also wish to thank Iowa State University for generously supporting this project at every stage.

—J. S.

FIRST ANCHOR BOOKS EDITION, SEPTEMBER 2005

Copyright © 1988 by Jane Smiley
Maps copyright © 1988 by David Lindroth

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, in 1988.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Anchor Books and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

The Library of Congress has cataloged the Knopf edition as follows:
Smiley, Jane.
The Greenlanders / Jane Smiley.—1st ed.
p. cm.
1. Middle Ages—Fiction. 2. Greenland—Fiction.
3. Historical fiction. I. Title.
PS3569.M39 G7 1988
813′.54 19
88002758

eISBN: 978-0-307-78804-7

www.anchorbooks.com

v3.1

This book is fondly dedicated to Elizabeth Stern,
Duncan Campbell, Frank Ponzi, and to the memory of
Knud-Erik Holm-Pedersen
.

par munu eftir
undrsamtigar
guttnar toftur
i grasi finnask
paers i árdaga
áttar hofdu

Afterwards they will find the chessmen,
marvelous and golden in the grass,
just where the ancient gods
had dropped them.

“Völuspá”
 (“The Sayings of the Prophetess”)

Contents

Cover

About the Author

Other Books by This Author

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Epigraph

List of Characters

Map

RICHES

THE DEVIL

LOVE

Epilogue

List of Characters

GUNNARS STEAD FOLK AND THEIR KIN
:

Asgeir Gunnarsson
, a wealthy farmer

Helga Ingvadottir
, his Icelandic-born wife

Margret Asgeirsdottir
, their daughter, born 1345

Gunnar Asgeirsson
, their son, born 1352

Birgitta Lavransdottir
, his wife, born 1357

        Their daughters:
Gunnhild Gunnarsdottir
, 1374

Helga Gunnarsdottir, 1316

Astrid Gunnarsdottir
, 1381

Maria Gunnarsdottir
, 1384

Johanna Gunnarsdottir
, 1386

     Their son:
Kollgrim Gunnarsson
, 1378

Thorkel Gellison
, Asgeir’s cousin

Jona Vigmundsdottir
, his wife

     Their sons:
Skeggi, Ingolf, Ogmund, Ofeig

Olaf Finnbogason
, Asgeir’s foster son

KETILS STEAD FOLK
:

Ketil Erlendsson
, another wealthy farmer, Asgeir’s neighbor and rival.

Sigrun Ketilsdottir
, his daughter, mother of Ketil the Unlucky

Erlend Ketilsson
, his quarrelsome son

Vigdis
, Erlend’s wife or mistress

Thordis
, Vigdis’ daughter

          Their sons:
Geir, Kollbein, Hallvard, Jon Andres
(born 1374)

GARDAR FOLK
(PRIESTS)
:

Ivar Bardarson
, Norwegian, caretaker of the Episcopal See of Gardar

Bishop Alf
, bishop of Gardar, from Stavanger district, in Norway

Sira Jon
, priest, nephew of Alf

Sira Petur
, a priest hastily ordained in Norway after the Black Death

Sira Pall Hallvardsson
, another priest in Alf’s entourage, of mixed Icelandic and Flemish descent

Sira Audun
, a Greenlander, designated a priest but not officially ordained

Sira Eindridi Andresson
, another Greenlander, Sira Audun’s cousin, designated but not ordained

Sira Andres
, son of Sira Eindridi

Larus the Prophet
, a Greenlander, originally a cowherd

SOLAR FELL FOLK:

Ragnvald Einarsson
, first owner of Solar Fell

St. Olaf the Greenlander
, his grandson

Bjorn Bollason
, from Dyrnes, second owner of Solar Fell

Signy
, his wife

Sigrid
, their daughter

     Their sons:
Bolli, Sigurd, Hoskuld, Ami

ICELANDERS
:

Bjorn Einarsson Jorsalfari

Solveig
, his wife

Einar
, his foster-son

Snorri
, captain of an Icelandic ship

Thorstein Olafsson
, a teller of tales

Thorgrim Solvason
, a prominent Icelander

Steinunn Hrafnsdottir
, Thorgrim’s wife

Thorunn Hrafnsdottir
, Steinunn’s sister

NORWEGIANS
:

Thorleif
, ship’s captain, called the Magnificent by the Greenlanders

Skuli Gudmundsson
, a boy on Thorleif’s ship, later a hirdman of Kollbein Sigurdsson

Kollbein Sigurdsson
, last representative of the Norwegian king to Greenland, 1373–1376

RICHES

 

A
SGEIR
G
UNNARSSON FARMED AT
G
UNNARS
S
TEAD NEAR
Undir Hofdi church in Austfjord. His homefield was nearly as large as the homefield at Gardar, where the absent bishop had his seat, and he had another large field as well. From the time he took over the farm upon the death of his father, this Asgeir had a great reputation among the Greenlanders for pride. It happened that when he was a young man he went off on the king’s knarr to Norway, and when he returned to Gunnars Stead two years later, he brought with him an Icelandic wife, whose name was Helga Ingvadottir. She carried with her two wallhangings and six white ewes with black faces, as well as other valuable goods, and for pride folk said that Asgeir was well matched in her.

BOOK: The Greenlanders
13.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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