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Njál's Saga

By: Anonymous
Narrated by: Gunnar Cauthery
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Summary

Based on events that took place between 960 and 1020 AD, Njál 's Saga is a mesmerizing drama about a multigenerational cycle of violence and retribution, and the feuds and passions that perpetuate it.

The eponymous sage Njál, known for his keen legal mind, is one of Iceland's pre-eminent men, along with Gunnar of Hlidarendi, a fierce and formidable warrior married to the diabolical Hallgerd, whose conniving instigates the interminable pattern of romance, action and brutality - until one unforgivable act ends it all. 

Njál 's Saga is considered the greatest of the Icelandic sagas and is notable for its historical value, as it provides glimpses of a society transitioning away from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages, and establishing the social and legal mores of its present.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

Public Domain (P)2019 Naxos Audiobooks

What listeners say about Njál's Saga

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Excellent choice

Listening to Njál's Saga has been a very different experience to the modern adventure stories I usually opt for, but I'm very glad I did. Particular compliments to the narrator Gunnar Cauthery whose laconic tone suits the saga very well, and who also (as far as I can tell) pronounces the names of the characters and places perfectly. It was fun slipping into a very different world, with very different conventions of genre, every morning as I got up to get breakfast ready.

This is a fairly recent translation, I think. The free online text is full of archaisms - thees and thous and so on - but this is in plain standard English.

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Great epic saga

Very involving reading of the greatest saga of blood feuds in 10th and 11th Century Iceland. Memorable characters and superb reading by Gunnar Cauthery. Legendary heroes and one celebrated female character who is at the heart of every dispute. Beautiful and devious! Brilliant!

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warrior-poet-lawyers

An ancient book takes us to a different world, to another reality. I was stunned by the world of the saga of the ancient nordic warriors. They turned out to be warrior-poet-lawyers. My ignorant expectations were that they knew only how to fight and kill. In the world of Njal’s saga, yes, they do kill. And the author does describe the killings in meticulous detail. But then between the killings they sing elaborate poetic songs. And, what is most interesting, after the killings they go to court in the Things (general assemblies) and fight intellectually exhaustive legal battles to agree the terms of atonement for the killings. They did have a sort of rule of law. The resolutions of the Things were generally thoroughly observed. Not an easy read, but definitely worth the effort. 

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One of the greatest stories I’ve read

Gunnar doesn’t do so many ‘voices’ in this narration but over all an excellent reading

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If you only ever listen to one Icelandic saga….

This is one of the most famous of Icelandic sagas and rightly so. It recounts a chain of events spanning a hundred years, a society that kept faith with the Norse gods before adopting Christianity by a vote at the annual parliament, where honour was reckoned by a talent for manslaughter as well as legal cunning, and where vengeance could be paid in blood or silver. The final settlement gave me chills. The narrator is a native Icelandic speaker who pronounces person and place names deliciously. I’d love to hear more Icelandic sagas read by this narrator

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-01-21

censored version

The passages about the marriage between Hrut and Unn are edited out. ive read it in both versions. this is annoying .

I haven't gotten to Hallgerd 's nasty mouth yet. but I already know it will be churched up and not funny. I'd rather have the full version.

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  • Michael
  • 05-06-20

Poor Translation?


This TITLE came highly recommended and I really liked The Saga of the Volsungs & Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok, but Njal left be a bit cold.

It is a saga, but to my ear was quite lifeless and a strange combination of Norse and Christianity, of butchery and legal nit-picking, honor and oath-breaking, and needless repetition.

There were no existing audible reviews, and because the title was recommended I just gave it a try. When I checked out the reviews of the print version this translation was repeatedly considered weak.

I will ask the recommender which translation he recommends.
I can't recommend this version.

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  • A from VA
  • 12-10-21

Literary Classic and Rare View of the Viking Mind

I had read Njal's Saga before, but it's even better (and a little easier to keep straight) hearing it spoken. Though the tale gets a little redundant at times with all the blood feuding and legal actions, this work really gives you a front-row seat to what being a 10th-11th century Icelander was like and who Vikings really were. As popular as Vikings are, it is a shame that more people do not read (or have not even heard of) this book. The narrator is great and does a fine job pronouncing all the names and places. An excellent production of a literary masterpiece.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-10-22

What Pinker's talking about.

This was so good. In Better Angels of Our Nature, Stephen Pinker talks about the violence in society without written structures of justice.

The dignity of self-defense: revenge, blood feuds, honor killings, preemptive, horrifying attacks on weaker groups.

The logic of might is right before there was another option.

It sounded foreign, unfamiliar, but it's all in here.

And told without any romantic embellishment. This is not a singer, telling a tale of glory. This is not Homer.

There's no embellishment.

It's more Thucydides. There's a respect, and a kindness, and a sadness, extended to all of the characters.

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  • Charles J.
  • 04-07-22

Excellent!

The story in the performance of this saga were fantastic! I was very impressed with how engaging the narrator was. He did an excellent job of breathing life into a story written 800 years ago. I wish they would make audiobooks of the other sagas from Iceland!

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  • Chris Wadsworth
  • 21-11-21

Excellent

Njals saga is the pinnacle of family saga writing. This is a great translation as well.