The Old Man and His Sons

The Old Man and His Sons These are the Faroe Islands as they were some fifty years ago sea washed and remote with one generation still tied to the sea for sustenance and a younger generation turning toward commerce and cler

  • Title: The Old Man and His Sons
  • Author: Heðin Brú John F. West
  • ISBN: 9781846590733
  • Page: 294
  • Format: Paperback
  • These are the Faroe Islands as they were some fifty years ago sea washed and remote, with one generation still tied to the sea for sustenance, and a younger generation turning toward commerce and clerical work in the towns.At the post hunt whale meat auction, Ketil enthusiastically bids for meat than he can afford Thus when Ketil is seventy, he and his wife struggleThese are the Faroe Islands as they were some fifty years ago sea washed and remote, with one generation still tied to the sea for sustenance, and a younger generation turning toward commerce and clerical work in the towns.At the post hunt whale meat auction, Ketil enthusiastically bids for meat than he can afford Thus when Ketil is seventy, he and his wife struggle to repay their debt.He in Br 1901 1987 , novelist and translator, was considered the most important Faroese writer of his generation and is known for his fresh and ironic style.

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    2 thoughts on “The Old Man and His Sons

    1. Heðin Brú John F. West Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Old Man and His Sons book, this is one of the most wanted Heðin Brú John F. West author readers around the world.

    2. What a strange reaction I'm having to this book."Tragicomical" is the first word that comes to mind as I flail around for an explanation. If The Old Man and His Sons does anything, it makes the reader uncomfortable. I didn't know whether to laugh or cringe as I read the book. As I approached the end, I thought that my feelings might resolve themselves, but now, in the post-reading pondering, I'm still baffled. Was the novel supposed to elicit pity for the pathetic characters or some kind of quai [...]

    3. This book was too short, and over too soon! It took a long time to track down a book written in the Faroe Islands that had actually been translated into English. This was written in the 1940s, depicting a quickly fading "old way" of living as a Faroese Islander. Brutal whale hunt, brutal living, but debt-free!This is a simple story with memorable characters, but tends to drive home the message of the old ways having value and being disregarded a little too forcefully. Because the Faroe Islands a [...]

    4. My review for Translation Thursday: THE OLD MAN AND HIS SONS by Heðin Brú (good luck pronouncing that one!) translated from Faroese (no really, it's a language).I'll leave the whole review on my blog tinyurl/jjxwkvk for a week or so.

    5. Heoin Bru's 'The Old Man And His Sons' is a beautiful, gripping chronicle of the daily struggle for survival on the Faroe Islands, a huddle of storm-ravaged specks of rock in the north Atlantic.First published in Faroese in 1940, the book was translated into English by New York publishers Eriksson in 1970, and has been unearthed and re-published this year, to their tremendous credit, by translation experts Telegram.Like the book itself, it's a venture worthy of great praise. This is a stunning a [...]

    6. It was hard to read this portrait of modernity encroaching on tradition in the Faroe Islands without recalling other, perhaps better known novels that have grappled with similar material (and happen to be among my own favorites). Not for long, though, because Heðin Brú's The Old Man And His Sons is very much its own book. Its fatalism bears a lighter touch than the bleakness of Halldór Laxness' Iceland, and is more down-to-earth than the religion and mysticism of George Mackay Brown's Orkney [...]

    7. Opening - A school of blackfish is in Seyvrágs Fjord - two or three hundred small whales, swimming silently round in little groups, and longing to be backin the broad ocean again, for this is not the way they intended to go.

    8. This was one of those books that leapt out of the huge list of the books people had already found for their own Around the World list. Scrolling down the page: Estonia, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Faroe Islands, Fiji…. Hold on what? The Faroes? There are books written about or in the Faroes? I have to read it!So on I went, and ordered the book and it arrived in the giant shopping spree of parcels I had delivered to work (the postman was very grateful I was solely keeping him in a job). And th [...]

    9. Gives a brilliant, human and succinct insight into an obscure world: that of a family and community living in the transition out of one of the last subsistence economies of Western Europe, seventy years ago in the Faroe Islands. As a premise that sounds academic, but this book is as easy to follow and as eventful as a soap (an interesting and non-sensationalist one: more Archers than Corrie). The writer was born in the Faroes in 1901 and lived there all his life.The changing times are illustrate [...]

    10. Around the world = Faroe Islands.The Old Man And His Sons by Heðin Brú is an account of the daily struggle for survival in a rural village on the wave-washed Faroe Islands, set against creeping modernisation of the society. The opening chapter details the grindadráp, the communal whale hunt, in all its bloody magnificence. Drunk and adrenaline-fueled by the kill, Ketil, the old man of the title, buys a huge chunk of whale meat beyond his means, and with the assistance of his (as he sees it) f [...]

    11. A book that subtly describes the coming of the modern world and the slow disappearing of the old ways of living for the Faroe Islanders.The book is a series of events - the hunting and killing of a whale pod (the most dramatic part of the book), the anguish of the father saddled with a major debt, a fishing trip, scavenging for driftwood, the borrowing of a horse, the death of an old friend, the scheming of a lazy neighbour, the shooting of a seal, trading for a piece of wood to make an oar, etc [...]

    12. Really nice discovery this one. Set in the Faroe Islands and written in 1940 , it tells the fascinating, touching, at times amusing, often bemusing but ultimately extremely revealing story of Ketil, the Old Man and his wife the Old Woman. Ketil is a loveable old Faroese man whose brutally hard, traditional way of life has been unchanged for centuries. He lives with his wife and youngest son in a two room leaky, turf roofed house where chickens roost in the beams of the kitchen, where spitting on [...]

    13. Ein ganz merkwuerdiges Buch, zumindest fuer jemanden, der noch nie ueberlegt hat, was es bedeuten wuerde, 1940 auf den Faeroer Inseln zu leben. Ketil und seine Frau haben einen Haufen Kinder, aber nur der etwas trottelige jüngste Sohn wohnt noch bei ihnen und sorgt fuer comic relief. Das Zentrum des Romans ist aber, dass die aeltere Generation mit der juengeren nicht mehr mitkommt. Ketil und seine Frau wohnen in einem kleinen Dorf, das Ketils Frau zumindest seit 40 Jahren nicht verlassen hat, u [...]

    14. This was a specialty read, preparatory to a trip to the Faroe Islands in two months. Set vaguely in the first third of the 20th century, The Old Man and His Son is a vivid snapshot of island life among the common, rural folk of the day. The narrative returns again and again to a comparison of the way things have always been done with the newfangled, high-falutin' ways of kids-these-days through the eyes of Ketil, the main character. In Ketil's world the sea provides, roofs leak and conveniences [...]

    15. I enjoyed every bit of this book. It was refreshingly different in tone and attitude - so good to read something from another culture every so often, to learn about the lives lived in other places and times. Excellent writing. I would write more but am short of time.

    16. No need to beat around the bush. I hated this book. I should have just quit when I realized that I hated this book, which was 4 pages into it. I kept reading on principle. The Old Man and His Sons is one of like 9 books in the entire history of Faroese literature that's been translated into English. I wanted to read this book before I went to the Faroe Islands, and unfortunately, it wasn't available in Canada. Then, despite going to every single bookstore in the tiny country, I didn't actually f [...]

    17. What an evocative book set in the Faroes in the 1940s. With powerful observation, Bru depicts the harsh yet steady traditional ways of living off the land and sea, which seem very much at odds with modern ways, with a consequential fragmentation of society into the old and new. The older characters are more likeable than the younger ones, yet the situation is desperate for those clinging onto the old ways - refusing to use a motorboat and rowing out to fish, for example. And yet the slower pace [...]

    18. Faroese novel, published in 1940, following an elderly couple bamboozled by all things modern, particularly debt. Their sustainable lifestyle in a tumbledown house, making do and mending, is laughed at by the younger people. With a great deal of dark humour it paints a vivid picture of a remote community at a time of change.

    19. I found it difficult to settle on a rating. Nevertheless I did enjoy this insight into the traditional life of the Faroe Islands and am mindful of the high esteem in which this short book is reputedly held by the islanders themselves. A deceptively simple, illuminating story.

    20. An interesting 20th century story telling the change from the old ways to the modern ways of life on the Faroe Islands.

    21. When I added this book, I had just read We, the Drowned. Mysterious as ever, ' logarithms suggested this book as a related work, and after reading the fascinating blurb, I fully expected something in the same vein as We, the Drowned.In all honestly, this book was very different from what I expected. It would be a lie though, if I said I was disappointed. If I had to compare this book to another novel, I would compare it to The Islandman. Whereas The Islandman tells the story of a disappearing wa [...]

    22. I would have liked - would have really liked - to enjoy this one more than I did but, alas, it didn't happen. This is an interesting if sparse insight into the remote Faroese community around seventy years ago and yet virtually timeless, save for a couple of mentions to the telephone. I'm fascinated by the Faroe Islands and did look at this book with favourably biased eyes for a long while either waiting for something relevant to happen or for the plot to take a relished twist. Unfortunately, no [...]

    23. The Old Man and His Sons, set in the Faroe Islands, and published in 1940, is an interesting look at the dichotomies between the older generation and the younger generation, particularly in a world transitioning between the subsistence economy of the older generation where people only grew or hunted what they needed to survive, to a market economy where people rely on trade, money, and credit and expect a quality of life that the older generation would never have dreamt of, let alone expected as [...]

    24. This is a fairly classic story of the old not being able to get to grips with change and feeling alienated. It is told in simple terms as an elderly couple, with fear of debt and being dispossessed and left destitute, look with concern at the lives that their children are living and believe that their families are growing away from them, no longer care for them.Through the action, from the opening whale hunt and a reckless impulse in the excitement of the auction of the meat, to the scrimping an [...]

    25. I have just finished reading this wonderful short book set in the Faroe islands and it has become one of my favorites. Acting on a impulse, Ketil, the main character, buys more whale meat than he can afford, and this sets off an array of tragicomic events. Past and present views on life, work, religion, family and sex are contrasted in this book in a fabled-like way narrating the vicissitudes Ketil and his family go through in order to gather the money to pay for the whale meat bill. The Old Man [...]

    26. This story set in the Faroe Islands now famous for the Sarah Lund jumper narrates the lives of a community sustained by whale hunting for their daily food.The old man of the title drinks too much vodka and bids at auction for whale meat to a sum he cannot afford.We then follow his largely unsuccessful ruses to raise the money to pay his debt. We see the difference in generations as his sons and their wives, although still living close, want more comfortable lives than those of their parents. The [...]

    27. This is a delightful little tale, that evokes a wonderful sense of what everyday life was like for the hardworking Faroe Islanders of years gone by. It shows the contrast between the older islanders clinging to the timeworn wisdom of their traditionalist values, and their younger offspring embracing the inevitable changes brought by modernisation. It's told in a charming way using an array of colourful island characters, who exchange equal amounts of wit and wisdom from either side of this divid [...]

    28. I really want to go to the Faroe Islands! This is one of the few novels available in English. It's a pretty interesting story of Ketil and his sons (especially Kalv) who buys more whale meat than he can afford and spends the rest of the year trying to raise enough money to pay for it. (I could have lived without the descriptions of the annual pilot whale killing, to be honest, but it is a key part of the Faroese calendar.) There is a lot of references to the older generation believing that the y [...]

    29. Another book picked up for its geographical location, but this one, although much shorter, had a more universal feel. It's definitely of its place as an old man lives to regret his impulsive purchase of more whale meat than he can afford and then resorts to a variety of increasingly desperate attempts to raise the money to pay off the debt. But as well as that, Bru describes with pithy honesty the stresses and frictions of life in a small isolated community at the same time as presenting a pictu [...]

    30. If you're interested in traditional rural life in the Faroe Islands, then this is the book for you. Written by their most famous writer, Heðin Brú, it was chosen by the Faroese as their greatest book of the twentieth century. It is, in fact, a very simple tale of eking out an existence in grinding poverty and the struggle to repay a debt. Although it was intended as a dark comedy, it certainly won't cheer you up and the opening scene, describing in graphic detail the entrapment, slaughter and [...]

    31. I came across this book because I really want to go to the Faroe Islands and, as a result, I started looking for Faroese literature. This is an interesting little story about different generations, village mentality and the struggle to find enough money to pay off debts - he bites off more whale meat than he can chew/afford. I feel like I learnt something new (and old) about a group of islands that interest me.

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