Nexø, Martin Andersen: Pelle, the Conqueror (1906-10)

“Pelle, the Conqueror” begins on the first of May 1877. Lasse Karlsson from Tommelia in Sweden arrives with his son Pelle at Bornholm in Denmark. They are fleeing poverty and starvation and try to find a decent living. Instead they are treated as indentured servants. As Pelle learns Danish, life becomes easier, but he and his father continue to be treated as outsiders. They refuse to give up their dream of a better life in Denmark.

In one sense you could call “Pelle” auto-biographical. Nexø (1869-1954) knew poverty from the inside. When he was 8, his family moved to Bornholm in hopes of having a safer life. Through this inside experience we get to follow Pelle and his father and friends through tragedy, comedy and success. There is an optimism inherent in these four books (mine is an omnibus) that has us identifying with Pelle’s fight to conquer his life.

Nexø writes beautifully. He brings the reader into the text and gives of himself to us. The journey through Pelle’s life is an amazing journey from a life of terrible circumstances into a life of possibilities. With warmth and generosity my heart was warmed by the excellence of Nexø’s text.


Barnes & Nobles seems to have the best price on this omnibus, consisting of 4 books: Boyhood; Apprenticeship; The Great Struggle; Daybreak.

Project Gutenburg offers Pelle the Conqueror.
——————————–
Pelle Erobreren is a Danish/Swedish movie from 1987 based on the book
1988:
  • Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film
  • Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film

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