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The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness: holding fast against vanity and illusion

The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness: holding fast against vanity and illusion
The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness: holding fast against vanity and illusion
In his early novels, the Icelandic Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness portrayed troubled individuals beset by familial, societal and economic challenges within an unpredictable and often unforgiving landscape; his later work addressed humanistic concerns regarding a well-lived life and the harmony of individual and environment. His 1957 novel The Fish Can Sing lies at the cusp of these preoccupations. Laxness contrasts the economic privations experienced by hard-pressed Icelanders with the ostentatious displays of their Danish colonial overloads; he also portrays individuals afflicted by psychosis, alcohol use disorders and medically unexplained physical symptoms, and delineates the path towards a ‘celebrity’ suicide. The novel warns against self-deceptive vanity and community-endorsed illusions, and celebrates the persistent benefits of nurturing relationships, all within a lyric contemplation of individual adaptive resilience and quotidian domestic pleasures
2056-4686
428-430
Baldwin, David
1beaa192-0ef1-4914-897a-3a49fc2ed15e
Baldwin, David
1beaa192-0ef1-4914-897a-3a49fc2ed15e

Baldwin, David (2017) The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness: holding fast against vanity and illusion. BJPsych Advances, 23 (6), 428-430. (doi:10.1192/apt.bp.116.016675).

Record type: Review

Abstract

In his early novels, the Icelandic Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness portrayed troubled individuals beset by familial, societal and economic challenges within an unpredictable and often unforgiving landscape; his later work addressed humanistic concerns regarding a well-lived life and the harmony of individual and environment. His 1957 novel The Fish Can Sing lies at the cusp of these preoccupations. Laxness contrasts the economic privations experienced by hard-pressed Icelanders with the ostentatious displays of their Danish colonial overloads; he also portrays individuals afflicted by psychosis, alcohol use disorders and medically unexplained physical symptoms, and delineates the path towards a ‘celebrity’ suicide. The novel warns against self-deceptive vanity and community-endorsed illusions, and celebrates the persistent benefits of nurturing relationships, all within a lyric contemplation of individual adaptive resilience and quotidian domestic pleasures

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: November 2017
Published date: November 2017
Additional Information: David Baldwin is Professor of Psychiatry in the Division of Clinical and Experimental Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 416215
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/416215
ISSN: 2056-4686
PURE UUID: 06c25b73-3572-4168-b0f0-0b7600a5d07a

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 08 Dec 2017 17:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 19:08

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