Bjørn reviews The Impudent Edda, a standalone Norse lore retelling by Rowdy Geirsson.
The Impudent Edda will be released on November 22, 2023, and can be pre-ordered now!
|Genre:||Norse lore retelling, comedy, astrophysics|
|Publisher:||Puffin Carcass (self-published)|
|Date of Publishing:||November 22, 2023|
|Trigger Warnings:||ALL OF THEM, those are Norse Gods we speak about, but mostly language|
After 800 years, the final installment of The Edda Trilogy has at long last arrived! Picking up where its medieval forebears, The Poetic Edda and The Prose Edda, left off, The Impudent Edda not only introduces readers to a fresh, new perspective on both familiar and previously unknown narratives of Norse mythology, but also brings the world’s foremost epic fantasy trilogy to its inevitable and fateful conclusion: in a dank alleyway behind a dive bar in Boston.
This special Puffin Carcass Deluxe Edition presents the complete text of The Impudent Edda in English for the first time ever. Masterfully translated from the original Bostonian by esteemed Impudent Eddic scholar, Rowdy Geirsson, this volume offers readers a deeply poetic yet highly accessible version of fun and classic tales ranging from Odin’s unprovoked murder of an ancient witch to Freyja’s voluntary experiment as a prostitute among lecherous dwarves to Thor’s drunken and petty act of larceny on the eve of Ragnarok, the final world-shattering battle of the gods.
“YOU GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!!
THAT IS FUCKING BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!”
Disclaimer: I am friends with the author, and therefore I will not be rating this review.
Being friends with authors has perks. This is the third time I have talked an author into writing a book I want to read. In this case, actually, it was a translation from Bostonian to English – in my original review I pointed out I was reading really slowly, because I had to keep translating from Bostonian to English, and, frankly speaking, that is a surprising amount of work. (This version is called Norse Mythology for Bostonians and still available.)
I was rather surprised to discover Geirsson would be releasing The Impudent Edda only as a paperback – nope, no e-book – until I received my ARC. The unknown author’s increasingly inebriated collection is absolutely hilarious (although Thor Renews His Driving Licence was actually funnier in Bostonian). At the same time, Geirsson provides extensive footnotes, which sometimes take more place on the page than the actual retelling. Separating one from the other would ruin both. Because I have been called an expert in Norse lore. I don’t even scrap the surface of Geirsson’s knowledge.
The Impudent Edda beats all other retellings by simple desperate admissions of the author: the Norse lore makes no sense. (“I still don’t have a fucking clue as to why Thor even bothered to stay friends with [Loki] after this one” being one – frankly, I don’t either.) The Gods do rather weird things, which can’t be explained in any other way than “I guess this is what Gods do?” (with an f-bomb or two) This is why I stay away from people who attempt to re-enact rituals that have not been performed for hundreds of years, then documented by xtians who had nothing to gain from writing them down correctly. (Looking at you here, Snorri. Metaphorically, due to you being decomposed.)
The myths, even if we assume they have been reproduced faithfully to the originals, were not given to the Northmen as a holy text. Those are stories written by drunken skalds who were being paid in ale for making them more outrageous. What this, and the other texts gets right, is that the myths are actually character-based, rather than action-driven. Quite a few original stories are either like the appendix, ‘The Lay of the B’s’ – it’s like getting a very long listicle that is also an infodump. The rest may make little sense, or consist of little but “the troll stole the mead, so they went and killed him.” Geirsson simultaneously expands them (do remember that The Impudent Edda greatly enhances our understanding of the Old Gods and their shenanigans) (and Loki’s beat-up old Pinto) (and American football) and provides explanations in the footnotes.
It’s the footnotes that make this book an essential read for anyone interested in the Norse lore, because the footnotes – while funny (extra half-star for the use of transmogrification!) actually explain the differences between The Impudent Edda versions and the original texts of Snorri and Saxo Grammaticus, and all the other ignoramuses (ignorami?) who have never even mentioned Thor’s flame-thrower or Odin’s experiments with public vagrancy. Have I mentioned this is the best ever retelling of the Norse lore?
Humour aside, Geirsson does his best to explain the inconsistencies and pure absurdity of some of the events and their participants. (“Mímir’s head guards a special well of interplanetary cosmic radiation that is located less than a single parsec away from the asymptotic giant branch of the space-time continuum nearest to Giant Land. The free neutrons found inside this well are unherently unstable…”) And those explanations make perverse sense. They’re fun as hell, but also the only way in which the lore could possibly be… well. Semi-coherent.
(Also, this is the myth in which Odin sends Freya his first dick-pic and decides this is his new hobby, which explains why Freya is not a big fan of Odin.)
(Did you know Thor’s favourite bands are Bee Gees and Ace of Base? I love Ace of Base, too.)
So, long story short, because I could go on and on about this book, I recommend it to anyone interested in Norse lore beyond Marvel comics and the movies where Chris Hemsworth doesn’t take his clothes off nearly enough – but only if you can stand this:
“[Thor] can fucking whip out Mjölnir whenever the fuck he feels like!
Mjölnir is not his dick. It’s his hammer.
HIS HAMMER IS NAMED MJÖLNIR.
I don’t know what his dick is named. Maybe Thor Jr.? Or Spicy Ginger? Or how about Lil’ Thunderstick?”
How Thor didn’t strike the author with – oh. As Geirsson explains, the original recording has been found in a rather sleazy alley, and the amount of work he put into transcribing and translating it – and adding the footnotes – is astounding. May he live long and prosper. Geirsson, I mean. And Thor, too. Brady and Gisele get a pass. (Or maybe don’t. I have no fucking clue. They’re Gods doing God shit. And the Dunkin’ Donuts is closed exactly when Thor needs a snack.)
I’ve done some of the best work of my life convincing Geirsson to translate Norse Mythology for Bostonians to English, and he’s done some of his best work by doing so.
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