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June 2, 2018


Indie Book Award Non-Fiction 2018 Saga Land

by N@ncy



  1. Saga Land is a heartfelt tribute to Iceland and its Viking history by
  2. Richard Fidler (Australian writer/radio presenter)
  3. and his friend, Kári Gíslason (Australian/Icelandic writer/academic).
  4. Kári Gíslason was born in Reykjavik to an Australian woman named Susan
  5. …and her Icelandic lover named Gísli.
  6. Gísli begged Susan to keep his identity secret.
  7. When the son Gíslason returned to Iceland
  8. …as a young adult he contacted his half-siblings.
  9. At a family get-together Gísli (father) told
  10. ..Gíslason (illegitimate son) that he was
  11. descended from Snorri Sturluson.
  12. He  was Iceland’s most famous saga author.


  1. Fidler and Gíslason embarked on a journey to Iceland with two purposes:
  2. to make a radio documentary retelling some of the sagas
  3. to discover whether Gíslason really is descended from Sturluson.
  4. Saga Land records their two trips to Iceland.
  5. The radio program went to air in 2016 and is now a podcast.


  1. The book is divided into four parts.
  2. Fidler and Gíslason taking turns to tell the story.
  3. The stories  are woven skilfully into the narrative of the road trip.
  4.  — Fascinating insight into Iceland’s little-known history and literature.
  5.  — Compelling story of one man’s quest to reclaim his identity.

Thingvellir (assembly valley), Iceland


What is a saga?

  • The sagas are the true stories of the Vikings
  • ….who settled in Iceland in the Middle Ages.
  • They are tales of honour and revenge.
  • Richard and Kári travel across Iceland
  • to the places where the sagas unfolded a thousand years ago.
  • They cross fields, streams and fjords to
  • immerse themselves in the folklore of this fiercely beautiful island.
  • There is another mission: to resolve a longstanding family mystery:
  • …a gift from Kari’s Icelandic father
  • …that might connect him to the greatest of the saga authors.



  1. Kari Gislason takes the reader
  2. …on a personal journey to find his roots
  3. Kari  spoke no more than 100 words with his father
  4. …saw him only 4 times in his lifetime.
  5. But father and son shared a few special secrets.
  6. This book describes an incredible family reunion.
  7. Kari takes his sons to meet their grandfather…(grave).
  8. Richard Fidler was co-author with Kari and together they
  9. explored Icelandic history and the 13th C literature of sagas.
  10. All elements of the book (history, literature, families) are
  11. equally balanced and the chapters alternate seamlessly
  12. …to keep you reading and wondering about Iceland.
  13. I needed to follow the chapters while google-ing images of
  14. Isfajordur, Helgahell, Thingvellir….etc.
  15. I knew nothing about  Iceland....
  16. …and now I want to visit the country!
  17. #WorldFromMyArmchair   read

Aurora Borealis in Glacial Lagoon Iceland

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Louise Minervino
    Jun 4 2018

    Not sure I’ve ever read a novel based in Iceland. Saw “Rams” last year. Intriguing place.


    • Jun 4 2018

      A personal search for identity is packaged in an overview of some important Icelandic sagas. I found the history between Norway and Iceland that I learned very intresting.


    • Mar 26 2019

      I saw that film too. Rather bleak, I thought…


  2. Mar 26 2019

    I bet this book is walking off the booksellers’ shelves because all those people who love Scandi Noir will love it!


    • Mar 27 2019

      Saga Land highlighted a backround, myth and literature I was not aware of!
      Iceland is sitting in my ‘weather screen’ every night on TV…and I wonder what is would be like to live there…at the end of the Gulf Stream. With changes in this water flow…sometimes it is warmer in iceland than here in The Netherlands!



Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards shortlist | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
  2. #NSW Premier’s Award 2019 shortlist – read-a-thon! | NancyElin
  3. #NSW Premier’s Award 2019 shortlist – read-a-thon! | NancyElin
  4. 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards winners | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

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