Salka Valka

Salka Valka


A new translation of Nobel Prize-winning author Halldór Laxness's masterpiece

Late one snowy midwinter night, in a remote Icelandic fishing village, a penniless woman arrives by boat. She comes with her daughter, the young but gutsy Salka Valka. The two must forge a life in this remote place, where everyone is at the mercy of a single wealthy merchant, and where everything revolves around fish.

After her mother's tragic death, Salka grows into a fiercely independent-minded adult - cutting off her hair, educating herself and becoming an advocate for the town's working class. A coming-of-age story, a feminist tale, a lament for Iceland's poor - this is the funny, tender, epic story of Salka Valka.

'Laxness is a poet who writes to the edges of the pages, a visionary who allows us a plot' Daily Telegraph



  • Laxness was a genius
    New York Review of Books

About the author

Halldór Laxness

Halldór Laxness (1908-98) was born near Reykjavik, Iceland. His first novel was published when he was seventeen. The undisputed master of contemporary Icelandic fiction and one of the outstanding novelists of the twentieth-century, he wrote more than sixty books. Laxness was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more