Bjartur of Summerhouses is my hero
Some time ago, I heard an NPR segment called "You must read this" about overlooked literary masterpieces. One of the books reviewed was Halldor Laxness's "Independent People." I've read a lot of books in my life, but this one easily makes the top five. I devoured it during my camping vacation. The story follows the epic struggle of Bjartur to make himself an independent man, free of debt and the influence of the Myri people. There's not a more stubborn man in literature but despite his effortless cruelty to his family, you can't help but feel for the man and his unending battle against worms, debt, reindeer, Icelandic weather, cows ("better a coffin than a cow!") and the tide of history. Very, very highly recommended.