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Family saga

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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.

The word saga meaning saying, comes from the Icelandic language and refers to Old Norse and Icelandic family stories.

The typical family saga follows generations of a family through a period of history in a series of novels. A number of subgenres of the form exist such as the AGA saga.

Successful writers of popular family sagas include Susan Howatch, R. F. Delderfield and Philippa Carr.

Examples of family sagas of literary note include:

  • The Sagas of Icelanders - the medieval Icelandic family sagas whence the word 'saga' is derived;
  • Dream of the Red Chamber - one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature, it chronicles the rise and decline of the Jia family;
  • Kristin Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset;
  • Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh;
  • Buddenbrooks, by Thomas Mann;
  • The Covenant, by James A. Michener;
  • Dune, by Frank Herbert;
  • The Tower and the Hive series by Anne McCaffrey, set in the universe of the "Pegasus" trilogy;
  • the Shannara cycle, by Terry Brooks;
  • A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, by Henry Williamson;
  • The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy;
  • The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende;
  • The Jalna books, by Mazo de la Roche;
  • The Kent Family Chronicles and The Crown Family Saga, by John Jakes;
  • Strangers and Brothers, by C. P. Snow;
  • The Immigrants, by Howard Fast;
  • The Mallens, by Catherine Cookson;
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez
  • The Palaeologian Dynasty. The Rise and Fall of Byzantium, by George Leonardos;
  • Roots, by Alex Haley;
  • The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough;
  • Holes, a novel by Louis Sachar;
  • The Lymond Chronicles and The House of Niccolò, Renaissance-set novel series by Dorothy Dunnett;
  • Fall on Your Knees, by Ann-Marie MacDonald;
  • Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides;
  • White Teeth, by Zadie Smith;
  • The Witcher, by Andrzej Sapkowski;
  • Captains and the Kings, by Taylor Cadwell;
  • Evergreen, by Belva Plain
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, a manga series by Hirohiko Araki
  • In cinema and television

  • The Best of Youth, in Italian La Meglio Gioventù
  • The Godfather
  • Heimat (film series)
  • Household Saints
  • How the West Was Won
  • I, Claudius
  • Our Friends in the North
  • Roots
  • Star Wars
  • Sunshine
  • The Thorn Birds
  • Vacas
  • In a Land of Plenty (miniseries)
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, anime
  • References

    Family saga Wikipedia