Iceland in centuries past was a formidable place to live. Situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the edge of the inhabitable world, the nation was both isolated and abjectly poor. Centuries of colonisation translated into oppression and subjugation from the colonial overlords, and a hostile climate and repeated natural disasters meant that mere survival was a challenge to even the hardiest of souls.
In these 50 miniature essays, Alda Sigmundsdottir writes about the Icelanders in centuries past in a light and humorous way, yet never without admiration and respect for the resilience and strength they showed in coping with conditions of adversity that are barely imaginable today. Their ways of interacting with the natural world are described, as are their sometimes tragic, sometimes ingenious, means of dealing with maltreatment and injustice from the church and other rulers.
The Little Book of the Icelanders in the Old Days is not only a funny, witty and wise expose on the Icelanders’ daily life in the past, it is also essential to understanding the Icelandic national character today.