The Faraway North, Scandinavian Folk Ballads
by Ian Cumpstey
Genre: Scandinavian Literature/Ballads
The Faraway North is a collection of translated medieval, Scandinavian ballads. Some of these ballads date as far back as the 1500s. Each ballad is introduced with some history and commentary on the background.
Ballads included with The Faraway North are:
Åsmund Frægdegjeva; Steinfinn Fefinnson; Esbjörn Proud and Orm the Strong; Sunfair and the Dragon King; Bendik and Årolilja; Sigurd Sven; Sivard Snare Sven; Little Lisa; Sven Norman and Miss Gullborg; Peter Pallebosson; Sir Svedendal; King Speleman; Holger Dane and Burman; Sven Felding; St Olaf’s Sailing Race.
I am no stranger to ballads. I am by no means an expert either, but I have an understanding of the concept thanks to years of gaming and fantasy novels. Oh and let us not forget renaissance festivals! I know enough to enjoy the heroic tales. For those of you who are less familiar with ballads, they are generally a collection of folk culture in the form of poems or songs handed down over generations.
When I was approached by Ian to consider reading The Faraway North for my honest review, I was instantly on board! This was something new and refreshing, and I always welcome the opportunity for cultural reading experiences. I also understand that culturally rich titles can often pose certain challenges.
I was concerned of the potential for the ballads to become confusing. Between translation and literally zero knowledge of Scandinavian folk-lore, this could have easily amounted to an overwhelming read. However, each ballad is introduced with a brief but thorough history providing the reader with a solid explanation of the events that unfold. The ballads have been beautifully translated creating a smooth and enjoyable read. The text flows easily in the form of poetry and verse. I am going to also mention that since this is an eBook edition, I was pleasantly surprised also with how well the book has been formatted. Everything was fluid. I am happy to announce the my first collection of ballads proved to be a satisfying event.
As an enthusiast of all things fantasy, I was instantly drawn. Between the pages were tales of heroics, tragedy, romance and even paranormal. Add a few trolls to the mix and there is little left to be desired.
This collection felt complete and well thought out. I love when you read a book and can feel the passion that has went into every page. I never imagined that I would actually lay awake at night reading ballads, but yet here I am. Well done!
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
About The Author:
Ian Cumpstey lives in Cumbria in the North-West of England. For eight years, he lived and worked in Sweden. He is now an associate member of the Swedish-to-English literary translators’ association, and has published three collections of translations of Scandinavian folk ballads: Lord Peter and Little Kerstin (2013), Warrior Lore (2014), and The Faraway North (2016). He can often be found running in the forests or the high fells, he plays the guitar and sings in English and Swedish.