Friday, December 8, 2023

MUSEUM OF HIDDEN BEINGS, Icelandic folklore in gorgeous, moody art and words


Eye of Newt Books
$23.95 softcover, avaiable now

Rating: 5* of five

The Publisher Says: Now available in English so that the creatures of Icelandic legend might knock on new doors...

Iceland, a country of striking and sometimes surreal beauty, is matched by its rich and extensive folklore. Since time immemorial, Icelanders have told tales of strange encounters and experiences they have had while on their travels. From the extraordinary Finngálkn , a crossbreed of man and beast to the Kráki , a giant octopus that preys on trawlers and oil rigs, Icelandic folklore is riddled with fantastic tales that expound natural phenomenon and circumstance with peculiar supernatural creatures from myth and legend.

Take these tales, passed down from generation to generation throughout the centuries, make with them what you will and share them again. First published in Iceland as Duldýrasafnið , The Museum of Hidden Beings is now available in English, worldwide, so that the creatures of Icelandic legend might knock on new doors. Part of the Wool of Bat series focused on the preservation and promotion of folklore and oral history from around the world.


My Review
: Beautiful, evocative artwork explains simply magnificent images of the creatures that haunt the imaginations of the Icelandic people:

A dwarf elf...not something I'd ever considered as a possibility. Not a forgettable face, is it? Not one I'd fancy running acoss on a long walk across the miles and miles of miles and miles that Iceland famously has.

Unsurprisingly for an island people, a lot of the creatures are of the sea:
...while others tie the spirit of the land to its place in the sea:
Yet others still are disembodied, or airborne, or the air itself as a being:
No image in this collection of spare, smooth, surreal artworks lacks multidimensionality, an evocation of physical, emotional, aesthetic unease:
...and the stories will do the same. I think Iceland has a back catalog of horror that the US reader of modern horror might very well find has eerie disturbances enough to make the mall seem tame.

Translated from Icelandic and now in the Wool of Bat series that seeks to spread the folklore of the world into all Anglophone heads, this beautiful book deserves a spot on the mythology and/or horror-fancying giftees #Booksgiving eve, to be savored with a cup of cocoa and a plate of buttery cookies to distract the fears and shadow-dwellers it eliciously evokes.

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