Ex Libris Kirkland

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Translator Michael Meyer
First Written 1943
Genre Fiction
Origin Sweden
Publisher NYRB Classics
ISBN-10 1590173465
ISBN-13 978-1590173466
My Copy library paperback
First Read February 22, 2022

The Long Ships

Also I loved the end-of-book adventure, gathering old friends for one epic voyage, returning to the spirit of their youth, extremely Ulysses like!

And then the arrival home was extremely Scouring-of-the-Shire like, our hero comes back from winning his big prize, all is well, but: some raiders and bandits have attacked home with fire and pillage! Time for one last kind-of-grim adventure. It made me check the publication date to see how it compared to LOTR / Return of the King. It definitely pre-dates it, and it makes me wonder if it actually influenced Tolkien?

Noted on March 8, 2022

An amazing thing; this really does have a similar tone as those medieval travelogues I loved so much. Like, it's not SO distant from Marco Polo, John Mandeville, John Carpini.

And really funny, in a sneaky way, I definitely snorted out loud in a few places.

Noted on March 8, 2022

It's really funny; a good example is the sullen, whiny English priest sent as a missionary to the northmen. He despises their savage heathen ways, but over time slowly converts to… being a bit of a Viking. Most of his scenes are good for a laugh, including when he takes part in their battles.

Noted on February 22, 2022

I am really enjoying this; about halfway through so far. I love a good travel/adventure story set in medieval Europe, and even better with Vikings as our POV characters.

Noted on February 22, 2022

"I cannot understand why I have kept away from the sea for so long," he said, "for a well-manned ship is the best of all things. It is good to sit contented ashore, and no man need be ashamed to do so; but a voyage to a far land, with booty awaiting a man and this smell in his nostrils, is as good a lot as could be desired, and a sure cure for age and sorrow. It is strange that we Northmen, who know this and are more skillful seamen than other men, sit at home as much as we do, when we have the whole world to plunder.”

“Perhaps," said Orm, "some men prefer to grow old ashore rather than to risk encountering that surest of all cures for age that seafarers sometimes meet with.”

"I smell many odors,' said Blackhair in a distressed voice, "but think none of them good.”

"That is because you are unaccustomed to them and know no better," replied Orm. "It may be that the sea-smell here is not so rich as that in the west, for there the sea is greener with salt and so has a richer tang to it. But this smell is nothing to complain of.”

Quoted on April 11, 2022

Rapp's men cast their spears at King Sven, but failed to hit him; and now he was almost upon them, and they had no spears left with which to defend themselves. Brother Willibald bent down, picked up a large stone, and flung it with all his might.

"Love thy neighbor!" he grunted as it left his hand. The stone struck King Sven full on the mouth with a loud smack. With a howl of agony, he crumpled on the horse's mane and slithered to the ground.

"That is what I call a good priest," said Rapp.

Quoted on February 22, 2022

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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