Days In Midgard * Steven Thor Abell (2008)

The writer asked if I was interested in reviewing his book. The book is presented as “a collection of modern legends based on the myths of the Vikings. From its inception as an oral storytelling project and through years of performance, Days in Midgard has finally become a work of the printed page.” It became a work of 280 pages that took over a decade of work. The stories are told lively an with a great amount of detail. Some are rather long, others are short. Interludes speak a little about Iceland or sagas. The first stories also read a little like sagas, but as the book continues, the stories are placed in (what appears to be) present time. All have a gleam of mystery and an agreeable atmosphere. The question “Where is it that gods go after they’ve been banished?” is answered: “Maybe they haven’t gone anywhere. In oblique encounters with passing strangers, the lives of ordinary and not-so-ordinary people turn in new and interesting directions.” This promises more than the book lives upto. Most stories are about very daily things and in most cases (restaurant hold up, car repair, buying houses) the person in it meets a person that somebody who knows the myths will recognise as a God from the Norse myths. Sometimes this is done very subtlely, sometimes rather obviously and in one or two stories so subtlely that I didn’t recognise anything myself. Being nothing of a story/fiction reader myself, I often found myself waiting for the ‘mythological link’. The stories are nice on itself, but this is not really my cup of tea.
If you like to read short stories and know Scandinavian mythology, you will probably enjoy this book. If you just like short stories, you might like it too, but miss a few layers. If you want ‘modern myths’ and/or stories about Gods in ancient times, this is not what you are looking for. The stories are just stories with here and there a Germanic God in it doing nothing ‘godly’ in most cases. But the book reads easily and since they are short stories, it might be a book for winter nights.

2008, Outskirts Press, isbn 1432719947
For more information see the writer’s website

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