When presenting the 1955 Nobel Prize to Laxness, the Swedish Academy of Letters cited "his vivid writing, which has renewed the Icelandic narrative art." Laxness has been by turns a Catholic convert, a socialist, and a target of the radical press, some of whom accused Laxness of a class ambivalence the Saturday Review summarized this way: "Though Laxness came to believe that the novelist's best material is to be found in the proletariat, his rejection of middle-class concerns was never complete, and the ambiguity of his attitude toward the conflict of cultural values accounts for the mixture of humor and pathos that is characteristic of all his novels." Independent People (1934--35) was a bestseller in this country; Paradise Reclaimed Reclaimed (1960), based in part on Laxness's own experiences in the United States, is a novel about a nineteenth-century Icelandic farmer and his travels and experiences, culminating in his conversion to the Mormon church. Laxness owes much to the tradition of the sagas and writes with understated restraint, concentrating almost entirely on external details, from which he extracts the utmost in absurdity. An Atlantic writer found that The Fish Can Sing (1957), the adventures of a young man in 1900 who wants to be a singer, "simmers with an ironic, disrespectful mirth which gives unexpected dimensions to the themes of lost innocence and the nature of art.