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Topic: Family Sagas

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Subject: Family Sagas
Date Posted: 3/13/2011 5:59 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I'm making a list of family sagas and was hoping some of you might have more to add...You can mention it here or add it to the list. It's an open list for everyone.

Here's the list

I'm mainly adding just the first books in a series because adding every book in every series would quickly make the list unmanageable.


I'm running out of good, juicy sagas to read and I really hope you guys know of some more! ;-)

Date Posted: 3/13/2011 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,175
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This is a good idea Valli, 

Last Edited on: 3/13/11 6:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/13/2011 6:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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I love sagas. I'm sure more will come to my feeble brain but you might like to add the Kirov trilogy by Cynthia Harrod Eagles. Anna, Fleur and Emily.

Date Posted: 3/13/2011 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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I can't believe I forgot about The Winds of War! I loved it and War and Rememberance. Good ones, Letty! I went ahead and added his books, The Hope and The Glory, too.

I haven't read The Forsyte Saga yet, but I have a copy and I'm looking forward to it.


Misfit, those should definitely be added, too. I added the 1st book in her other series, but forgot the Russian ones. I really must get copies of this trilogy one of these days...

Date Posted: 3/13/2011 8:25 PM ET
Member Since: 3/5/2008
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Oh, I love sagas. What a great idea.  I will have to go through my BIR list and see if I can add any.

Date Posted: 3/13/2011 8:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,564
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How about The Brothers K.  I have two copies and keep meaning to pick it up and read it.

Date Posted: 3/14/2011 12:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Jane, I was wondering if "The Moon Below" would be considered a saga. What do you think? The Simons books you added are perfect; I loved them!

Pamela, I think The Beothers K would work; feel free to add whatever you like!

I don't know if there is any hard rule on what makes a book a saga, so just add any books that felt like saga material to you. ;-)


Donna, I have never heard of the Conrad Richter series you added, but I will be checking them out ASAP. They sound great! They reminded me of another great series that should be added - Vilhelm Mobuerg's Emigrant Saga! The Emigrants, Unto A Good Land, The Settlers, and Last Letter Home. Great books about the Swedish-American emigrant experience.

Date Posted: 3/14/2011 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Hey, what about Outlander? Wouldn't that be a saga?

Date Posted: 3/14/2011 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Outlander? Helloooooooooooo, yeah!

Great list, Valli!

Date Posted: 3/14/2011 9:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
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Valli, the Conrad Richter series was made into a mini series called the Awakening Land about 30 years ago.  It starred Elizabeth Montgomery and Hal Holbrook and was was wonderful.  I went out the next day and bought all 3 books.

Date Posted: 3/14/2011 10:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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I am wondering if we need a working definiton of "family saga" as I'm not positive I'd put the Brothers K in that category.

Last Edited on: 3/15/11 12:40 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/15/2011 6:54 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,721
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To me, a family saga should cover several generations of one, or sometimes two families over a period of time.  It should show the family's involvement in historical events, and it can be one book, or a series.  But that's just my personal definition.  John Jakes "The Americans" is a perfectly (almost overblown) example, to my mind.  Personally, I like three generational sagas.  smiley

Now you've got me wondering if there is an official definition.  We can use anything we want here, IMHO.

Date Posted: 3/15/2011 11:02 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Vicky, that is my definition of a saga as well. I usually like the multi-generational ones the best too, although there has been exceptions to that.  Below is a defintion:

sa·ga  (säprime.gifgschwa.gif)

a. A prose narrative usually written in Iceland between 1120 and 1400, dealing with the families that first settled Iceland and their descendants, with the histories of the kings of Norway, and with the myths and legends of early Germanic gods and heroes.
b. A modern prose narrative that resembles a saga.
2. A long detailed report: recounted the saga of their family problems.
Here is a definition for "family saga" from Wiki:
The family saga is a genre of literature which chronicles the lives and doings of a family or a number of related or interconnected families over a period of time. In novels (or sometimes sequences of novels) with a serious intent, this is often a thematic device used to portray particular historical events, changes of social circumstances, or the ebb and flow of fortunes from a multiple of perspectives.
Wiki had a short list of family sagas on the same page - family saga list - many of which we had already added to our list!
I don't want to be too picky in our definition though. If you read a book that felt like a grand saga, put it on the list! If someone else doesn't agree that it is a good read or doesn't feel it is a saga, they can vote the book down and vote those they like better up further on the list. It will all work out in the end and we will have a good list. ;-)

Date Posted: 3/15/2011 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Do you think Norah Lofts "Suffolk House" trilogy would qualify as a saga? I haven't read it yet, but I have it on my reminder list.

Suffolk House
1. The Town House (1959)
2. The House at Old Vine (1961)
3. The House at Sunset (1962)


Maybe Lonesome Dove???

Last Edited on: 3/15/11 11:54 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/15/2011 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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What about a series where each book focuses on a different member of the family, not necessarily different generations?

Susan Carroll's Cheney of Faire Isle series comes to mind. It starts with The Dark Queen.  Is it just a family series and not a family saga?

I love this list, I just want to be sure I don't add the wrong stuff ;-)


Date Posted: 3/15/2011 2:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,508
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Ok, my definition lines up then.

I'm still not sure about "Brothers" though. Having said that, it is an amazing book that I really enjoy, although I always feel like the Bear of Little Brain when I read it. 

Date Posted: 3/22/2011 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Elizabeth, I definitely think books that focus on different members of the same family can be termed sagas. I say add it! ;-)


I just requested a family saga from a member who seems to be the owner of the family saga mother-lode. Her shelf is full of sagas I haven't seen before. Jeez, I wish I hadn't clicked that "Order More" button. I have been trying to save my credits in order to be well stocked when I go on mono-vacation this week! Aargh. I just had to request the Emma Blair book Elizabeth added to the list and now I've found myself in saga heaven. :-O

Date Posted: 3/22/2011 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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Personally, I agree that different members of the same generation can qualify as a family saga as long the timespan covered is several decades.  Like, 40 years, definitely.  10 years, no.  In between  ... gray area.