SNORRI: The Afterlife Adventures of Snorri Sturluson, by Christopher A. Smith

 Snorri Sturluson, 12th-13th century Icelander, is the main person responsible for writing down and thereby preserving much of the pre-Christian oral myths of the Scandinavian peoples. As author of two extraordinary books on Icelandic Magic (see HERE and HERE) Chris Smith is well-qualified for this playful meditation on the Norse myths, expanding the ideas and events within that corpus. The tale imagines Snorri’s journey after his assassination, meeting the Gods, Elves, Dwarves, Etins and Vanes of the Norse myths, who set him right about some of the things he heard in his life in Midgard. 

Myths aren’t necessarily meant to be consistent, but it’s instructive, and fun, to elaborate the ancient literature with a view to how it can all fit together. Others have attempted this, such as Viktor Rydberg, but the latter’s work takes us on a ‘Rydberg trip’, way outside of the original material. Chris Smith sticks much more closely to the originals, and fills in some of the ‘gaps’ that all mythic structures have in a well-informed and entertaining way. 

Mr Smith does not shrink from colouring his accounts of the various beings with his own preferences, such as his comical disdain for the Light Elves, which of course adds personal depth. In a recent interview he talks about some of his inspirations. 

Who is this book for? Readers who’ve read enough of the Norse corpus to get the ideas, but who are up for a very readable and often amusing tale.


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