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Oh man, THE LONG SHIPS is one mighty book, I say, having just myself read it about two weeks ago.

I wanted to read some Dumas when I heard Bengtsson really just wanted to make a Viking Dumas book; Dumas is fun, but THE LONG SHIPS is so much better than any "Vikings + swashbucking" adventure or whatever. You realize how extraordinary Bengtsson is with character in that light.

And Meyer's translation is seems to be as pitch-perfect as translations come.

Oh and the Marias is swell. ALL SOULS gets its own larger-than-life commentary track in DARK BACK OF TIME (Maybe Marias's best book), and a sorta-sequel-but-not-really in the intermittently excellent YOUR FACE TOMORROW books. THE MAN OF FEELING gets short shrift, but it's nice, very Nabokov.

I ran into people who immediately broke into a smile the second they saw that I was carrying around a copy of Long Ships. It happened three times in a week! That book engenders such a warm reception, it's really remarkable. It's funny that you mention Dumas--I was recently wandering around one of those massive chain book stores in Delaware trying to find something LIKE Long Ships, and I ended up staring at Dumas for a while.

Marias: have you read Heart So White? I remember reading that about 8 years ago, but I can't for the life of me remember anything about it. The plot synopsis--guy thinks about his dad--sounds sort of familiar, but I can't place any memory of it.

HEART SO WHITE, I remember, had an excellent and extremely meticulous flashback opening, w/ the suicide of the father's bride-to-be. If I remember, the plot uncoiled in uber-graceful fashion from there, re: the father and various revelations, most of the book being Marias's central character just staring into space and letting off mental fireworks, which Marias, as ever, makes genuinely exciting/exhilirating.

Dumas, having read about 3/5ths of THE THREE MUSKETEERS, is fun; he's kinda hacky, but he really just wants to entertain the hell out of you, logic bedamned.

Dumas doesn't match up quite with THE LONG SHIPS, though. That book really is just extraordinary - in its afterglow, I'm wondering what book could possibly match up.

Well, the guy who recommended Long Ships to me also recommended Warlock, automatically making him the number one guy-who-recommends-me-books, so as soon as he gives me another one, I'll let you know.

Heart: I need to reread that, the suicide mention is way more familiar than anything I saw on the wikipedia page. Thanks again!


Oh man the Long Ships review. I have been waiting for this since you mentioned it over at TCJ

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