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The Little Book of the Hidden People: Stories of elves from Icelandic folklore Kindle Edition
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If you are considering the purchase of this book, you are here because of some interest in Iceland. Without a doubt, Alda is the Queen of English language books about society (and things in general) concerning Iceland.
Alda was born in Iceland, raised in Canada, and lived in a number of other places before returning to Iceland, perhaps 20 years ago. She is uniquely qualified to explain to the rest of the world, those things that are exclusively Icelandic...such as the "belief" in Elfs.
If you have been to Iceland, you know what it is all about. If you are considering your first visit there, you have to go and see it for yourself; but I really do believe you will be "hooked", and return continually, as I have since 1976.
Iceland has a population of about 320,000; they expect about 3,000,000 visitors this year. That says a lot about Iceland, and, quite honestly, Alda is the the source for explaining Icelandic society and culture to the English speaking world. This book, while it deals with Elfs, is an insight into the history of Iceland, Icelanders, and how they think.
If you do purchase the book,I recommend that you make your first read "the Introduction".
When I buy a new book, I just hop to the begining of the story. But whether you are new to Iceland, or have been a long time visitor, this time I recommend you begin with the introduction, as it gives a good background for the stories that follow. It will help you understand why Iceland (and Icelanders) do the things they do. So strange, but so sort of the same......that is Iceland, and Alda explains it..
Without a doubt, I have to give this a 5 star recommendation. Alda is a great writer; but she is also capable of explaining those things in Icelandic society that seem so strange to us on the outside.
Iceland is a fantastic country to visit, if you have been there you know. If not, put it on your list of places to visit.
Whether you have been to Iceland or not, you will enjoy the interesting stories in this book. But if you know Iceland, you will like them even more.
This is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it it for anyone who is interested in things Icelandic.
I think of Alda as kind of a "reverse Leif Ericson" - she was born in Iceland and raised in Canada and Western Europe, before returning as an adult to "The Land of the Nice". What's awesome about Alda's books is her perspective as an "outsider's insider", and her super concise, articulate yet informal writing style. The books I've read are collections of short essays, which makes them very quick reads.
Think of The Little Book of the Hidden People as an Icelandic version of Grimm's Fairy Tales (Alda makes this comparison). Like Grimm's Fairy Tales, there are clear morals to each story that reinforce cultural values. Now, imagine a book of Grimm's Fairy Tales, where each fable is followed by well researched explanations of that story's cultural and historical context, all written in a very vernacular and accessible style. If you can picture that, and it sounds interesting, go ahead and order this book without delay.