I will never read a Nigel Slater book, now that I have heard two! Not all books are well-served by being spoken, but this one - with its brief, self-contained food essays - is very enjoyable as one races around the track or (even more so) walks to the local deli. Slater's dry sardonic wit (a perfect example is his deconstruction of the trifle) is amplified when the author delightfully reads his own work.
This saga is mythic - a fairy tale - but brutal as the greatest fairy tales are. In one tale, as a mother prepares to murder her children, they advise her that such a plan, although horrendous, is a parent's right.
His different voices for the male and female characters really made the drama come alive.
Brunhilda's having second thoughts about rejecting Sigurd. This woman of great wisdom lapsed into a jealous hag - timeless!
In the preface, the author states, to my surprise, that never before has this Icelandic saga been translated into English. All English-speaking readers should rejoice that the author has rectified this and so very eloquently.
To say that the ending is disappointing is to miss the point of the book. This book is a first person, stream of consciousness narrative about the impact a person's life adventures have had on him. Characters like
Richard Poe WAS Trond, and he made me care about Trond from Minute One. His narration was understated and perfect for the book.
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