Book Reviews

Audiobook Review: Looking for the Hidden Folk

By Nancy Marie Brown

Narrated by Ann Richardson

8 Hours, 25 Minutes

Released February 2023

The subtitle of this book is: How Iceland’s Elves Can Save the Earth.  Elves?  Cool.  I pre-ordered the audiobook expecting something magical, something folklorish, something about elves.  Silly me.  This book covers a lot of ground, but most of it is not about elves.

It possibly ought to have been subtitled “Why I love Iceland,” because it was half a travel documentary, half everything but the kitchen sink that had to do with Iceland.  The author jumped around from elvish seers, lava fields, quantum physics, Icelandic folklore, Icelandic sagas, witches, the act of seeing, volcanos, volcanic documentaries, magical mountains, J.R.R. Tolkein, and farmhouse construction.  That’s just what I remember off the top of my head.  The narrator’s voice was calm and pleasant to listen to.  Unfortunately, I listened to most of this book on my commute to and from work and since her tone was so soothing, I didn’t retain a lot of the information coming at me.  And there was a ton of information.  The author is obviously knowledgeable about her subject, having visited there 30-some times.  I figure she must have been Icelandic in at least one past life.

“Looking for the Hidden Folk” interpreted by Wombo Dream

It was an interesting listen, but not remotely what I was expecting.  If I had wanted a survey on Iceland, I’d be rating it higher because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this book – except for the synopsis luring in unsuspecting listeners who want to hear about elves.  In fact, the last line of the synopsis intimates that if we all believed in elves like Icelanders do, we could save the earth from climate change.  While there are several studies presented that suggest a portion of Icelanders believe in elves, it’s hardly the majority of the country.  In fact, elvish seers (those who can see elves) seem to be scoffed at.  The author admits to rolling her eyes at one the first time she met her.  Hardly a convincing argument that elves are real and should be taken seriously.  

If you’re looking for a general study on Iceland, pick this up.  If you want something magical about elves, you might be disappointed.

3/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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