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Book Review: Days in Midgard

I bought a book called Days in Midgard: A Thousand Years On. Modern Legends Based on Northern Myth by Steven T. Abell on a whim. It was suggested to me by that automatic suggestion thingy on amazon.com and it had good reviews so I purchased it. What I expected was one of two things. Either 1) it would be written by someone who liked Norse mythology but wanted to take all the power and presence of the Gods out of them by recasting it modern times or 2) it would be something like a mini - American Gods telling stories that had very little to do with the ancient myth but using some of the same characters. Either way, really, would have been fine with me actually. I think American Gods is a genius story and I firmly believe that mythology is meant to be told and retold again and again. As long as the author was honest about it I was cool with it.

That said, this is not all what the book, Days in Midgard, is about. The author, it turns out, is indeed a practicing heathen. He is a member of the Troth serving on the High Rede. This book was written from his storytelling work. Apparently for many years he has been compiling and telling these stories. They are not really about the Gods at all, mostly, but instead about people in the modern world who have experiences with them. Some of the stories are very unexpected and unique. Most of the stories, with one notable exception that takes place in 18 century Sweden, take place in a modern setting and, although not always in the United States, most of the characters are American. Several of the stories play off each other in unexpected and charming ways. All the while the Gods and Goddesses are presented in a fairly one dimensional way. This is not a bad thing, in this case, because in some ways they become just more scenery for the real story going on which is nearly always the folk who have encountered them.

Every two chapters Mr. Abell takes a short side-track to talk about his experiences and memories from visiting Iceland. He talks about it in a way that is beautiful and compelling and, at least for me, really makes you want to go there. And many of the stories tend to end abruptly but really they are open ended. The readers get the pleasure of completing or at least continuing the stories as their mind takes them. I found this kind of story telling very compelling.

The only disagreement I have with the author is that he implies in the introduction that having no knowledge of the Norse myths will not affect reading this book. I have to disagree, I feel that having some knowledge of the myths made the stories all that much more enjoyable.

I really enjoyed this book, am glad I took the chance, and highly suggest it.

Rating: 8 (out of 8) Pointed Star

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
seamus_mcnasty
Sep. 4th, 2009 12:12 pm (UTC)
nice review send it to oakleaves! I will pick this up based on your review,
thanks
Seamus
dubhlainn
Sep. 4th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
I may send it in but OL is already really behind on a lot of the stuff I have sent in so I am holding off for now sending more into them.
serendipity_9
Sep. 7th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
alright - I really need book reviews and I've already slated one of your items for the Winter issue. I have the last book review in the Winter issue. So I need them! Please send it in!
dubhlainn
Sep. 7th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
I will send it in, but do you have my review of the "In Search of Ancient Ireland" DVD I sent in a couple months ago?
serendipity_9
Sep. 7th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
nope. I can't find it in my folders. My fault (even if it isn't) as I should have received it. Could you send it again? Please pretty please?
dubhlainn
Sep. 8th, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
I have sent both this review (slightly edited) and my review of the "In Search of Ancient Ireland" DVD. I sent them in seperate emails.

Please let me know when you receive them.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )