Tag: Books: Scandinavian Literature

Review: The Kalevala

Posted 13 July, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Kalevala

The Kalevala is the great Finnish epic, which like The Iliad and The Odyssey, grew out of a rich oral tradition with prehistoric roots. During the first millennium of our era, speakers of Uralic languages (those outside the Indo-European group) who had settled in the Baltic region of Karelia, that straddles the border of eastern Finland and north-west Russia, developed an oral poetry that was to last into the nineteenth century. This poetry provided the basis of the Kalevala. It was assembled in the 1840s by the Finnish scholar Elias Lonnrot, who took ‘dictation’ from the performance of a folk singer, in much the same way as our great collections from the past, from Homeric poems to medieval songs and epics, have probably been set down. Published in 1849, it played a central role in the march towards Finnish independence and inspired some of Sibelius’s greatest works.

I’ve mentioned this story a few times now but I had been reading The Kalevala since about the start of the new year. I started reading it on my Kobo but realised halfway through that the stories weren’t exactly sinking in; the translation that I had was a little heavy and there’s just something awkward about reading folk/epic poetry on a e-Reader (yeah, still getting used to that). So I ended up buying a physical copy of The Kalevala and starting again from the beginning. I will say that the Oxford Classics edition is fantastic in its translation (not sure about the accuracy though), it’s much more accessible than the free ebook version.

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Review: Headhunters

Posted 3 June, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Jo Nesbø

Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter, and he’s a master of his profession. But one career simply can’t support his luxurious lifestyle and his wife’s fledgling art gallery. At an art opening one night he meets Clas Greve, who is not only the perfect candidate for a major CEO job, but also, perhaps, the answer to his financial woes: Greve just so happens to mention that he owns a priceless Peter Paul Rubens painting that’s been lost since World War II—and Roger Brown just so happens to dabble in art theft. But when he breaks into Greve’s apartment, he finds more than just the painting. And Clas Greve may turn out to be the worst thing that’s ever happened to Roger Brown.

Jo Nesbø is pretty popular in the Scandinavian thriller genre at the moment and I first found out about this book after seeing a trailer for its 2011 movie adaptation starring Aksel Hennie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. So I decided to pick this book up for my Kobo; after reading as something as heavy as Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings (review), I was in the mood for something different. Contains some spoilers ahead!

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Review: The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun

Posted 1 January, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Happy New Year again to you all! Well, I’m starting the new year with not one, but two book reviews, having finished two books I had been reading for the past few days xD

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun
By: J.R.R. Tolkien

Many years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien composed his own version of the great legend of Northern antiquity, recounted here in The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún.

In the Lay of the Völsungs is told the ancestry of the great hero Sigurd, the slayer of Fáfnir, most celebrated of dragons; of his awakening of the Valkyrie Brynhild, who slept surrounded by a wall of fire, and of their betrothal; and of his coming to the court of the great princes who were named the Niflungs (or Nibelungs), with whom he entered into blood-brotherhood.

In scenes of dramatic intensity, of confusion of identity, thwarted passion, jealousy, and bitter strife, the tragedy of Sigurd and Brynhild, of Gunnar the Niflung and Gudrún his sister, mounts to its end in the murder of Sigurd, the suicide of Brynhild, and the despair of Gudrún.

The Lay of Gudrún recounts her fate after the death of Sigurd, her marriage against her will to the mighty Atli, ruler of the Huns (the Attila of history), his murder of her brothers, and her hideous revenge.

This is actually the first of a number of books that I will be re-reading from my bookshelf over the course of the year. I mentioned this on GoodReads but Ias in the mood to read something epic so I decided to re-read this book. I also figured that watching ‘Thor’ last week was probably the reason behind my mood for something Scandinavian xD

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Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Posted 25 December, 2011 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
By: Stieg Larsson

Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge—against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

I got around to reading (at least the first book) the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson last year (you can read my review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in this post). I didn’t get around to writing a review of the second book but I recently got around to reading the final installment (after realising that they’re never going to be releasing the final volume in the mass bound paperback format). Some spoilers ahead!

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Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Book & Movie)

Posted 9 January, 2010 by Lianne in Books, Entertainment / 0 Comments

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
By: Stieg Larsson

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared off the secluded island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger family. There was no corpse, no witnesses, no evidence. But her uncle, Henrik, is convinced that she was murdered by someone from her own deeply dysfunctional family. Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired to investigate, but he quickly finds himself in over his head. He hires a competent assistant: the gifted and conscience-free computer specialist Lisbeth Salander, and the two unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.

I’ve been hearing about this book throughout all of last summer and lots of recommendations for this book came from GoodReads and the bookstores and so forth. So when I noticed that it was out in paperback, I decided to check it out. Read More