I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is a short book with translations of Scandinavian folk ballads and some explanations of what they’re about and what is happening in them.
On one hand, it’s not the type of book for me because I’ve never been fond of things like poetry and such. On the other hand, it’s probably the perfect type of book for me to review because I translate and I can appreciate how difficult it is to try and keep a rhythm and rhyming scheme while keeping the same meaning. It’s hard. I can imagine the amount of effort it took to try and put it together in English and I’d say it came together pretty well.
Before each ballad, there are short explanations discussing what happens in the ballad, whether they’re based off real historical figures and who they were, and what happened to them in reality or in other ballads. I would say this is akin to studying Shakespeare, because it’s not necessarily obvious what’s going on in the ballad’s themselves without an explanation.
I think the one that amused me the most was when Thor crossdressed as the troll’s bride. I also liked that a guy ran home with an oak tree tied to his back. Old tales really didn’t make a lot of logical sense.
Others are pretty sad and telling of the times, like when a woman is kidnapped and forced into a brutal marriage and dies, only for one of he daughters to be kidnapped the same way later.
Like I said, it’s fairly short, and there’s not too much of note to say. The sources that he translated from are documented. If you’re interested in this subject it would be a good book to look into – I didn’t really see any problems with it. It was neatly put together and had a clean Table of Contents and all. It did everything it set out to do, so I give it a 10/10.