Shute, Nevil. Vinland the Good. William Morrow & Co, Inc. 1946.
Reason read: Shute’s birth and death month is January. Read in his honor and memory. I also needed a book for the Portland Reading Challenge. The category is a book that is under 150 pages long. Vinland the Good is 126 pages.
This is the historical fiction story of Leif Ericsson and his quest to discover new lands. Cleverly hidden in a history lesson at a boy’s boarding school, teacher Callender describes Leif’s life’s adventures. Callender is back after six years to teach U.S. History and finds a clever way to keep the students engaged despite the headmaster’s disapproval. [Spoiler: there is a section of the story where Leif warns Thorgunna to keep her ladies away from Leif’s men. It is hinted that Leif worries the men could rape the fair maidens. Thorgunna replies that Leif gives sound advice because her ladies have been without variety…]
Vinland the Good comes to us in the form of a treatment for a script as if Shute planned it as a movie or theater production. Stage directions and props describe each scene before narratives begin. Themes in Vinland the Good include forgiveness (when King Olaf lifts Leif’s stigma of being the son of an outlaw and teaches Leif the art of shipbuilding) and the spread of Christianity. You could also call Vinland the Good a tragic love story as Leif and Thorgunna’s relationship blossoms into love and loyalty.
Best quote, “LEIF (Heavily) Thorgunna, as one goes through life one has to make the best decisions that one can, and work on them” (p 70). Amen to that.
As an aside, I love any book that uses the word ‘gloaming’ in some manner.
Author fact: I have read five of the twenty four Nevil Shute books on my list. He has written a bunch more.
Book trivia: Even though a map is included on the free and pastedown endpapers, there are no other illustrations. Bummer.
Nancy said: Pearl didn’t say anything specific about Vinland the Good.
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Nevil Shute: Too Good To Miss” (p).
Confessional: this doesn’t happen to me often. I am proud of the fact that my Book Lust Challenge is very organized. I would like to think I have every book cataloged; so it came as a shock to learn Vinland the Good was NOT cataloged in LibraryThing. It was in all of my spreadsheets (TwistList, MBL list, ToGo list, and Schedule list), but somehow I missed the most important place of all, LibraryThing.