The Kalevala provides a compelling insight into the myths and folklore of Finland. Compiled by Elias Lönnrot in the 19th century, this impressive volume follows a tradition of oral storytelling that goes back some 2000 years, and it is often compared to such epic poems as Homer's Odyssey. However, The Kalevala has little in common with the culture of its Nordic neighbors: It is primarily poetic, it is mythical rather than historic, and its heroes solve their problems with magic more often than violence.
This version uses the acclaimed translation by Keith Bosley, who is one of the acknowledged experts on The Kalevala. Highly popular and accessible, his is widely regarded to be the authoritative text.
If you could sum up The Kalevala in three words, what would they be?
Charming and engaging.
What about Keith Bosley’s performance did you like?
That it sounded like a storyteller of the original tales might have, had they been in English--declaimed and metrical but well paced. He conveyed what must have been the real meaning of the words--which as the translator from the Finnish, he knew.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No, the original was assembled from different, though related tales by a 19th-century collector.
Any additional comments?
Where other translated folk tales seem flat, this was lively, without the sense that anything had been added to make it so.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Anyone who has tried to read an epic like this would do well to remember that the Kalevala was meant to be read aloud.
It doesn't surprise me that there aren't to many recordings of this epic in audio form. And as for trying to use electronic voice technology along with a read-aloud type app, I wouldn't recommend it. The electronic voices are flat, and they can't deal with the names. After a while, I'd really freak out.
Fortunately, this version of the Kalevala is narrated by someone who totally gets it. Keith Bosley is both the translator and narrator of this version. In my book, this adds to his credibility.
Not only that, Bosley brings his background in radio to this performance. It's as if he really was planning to read this thing aloud, and since he knows the language, he is able to cope with the Finnish names.
As a bonus, I have to give Naxos Audio Books high marks. Naxos always puts out quality stuff, and this recording doesn't let me down.
In short, anyone looking for a good narration of the Kalevala would do well to check out this reading.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Only one third through but I'm in no doubt I'll want all 13 hours. It's like a drug.
I almost didn't click but curiosity made me listen to the sample and I was drawn in by the sound and the imagery straight away.
Nordic noir was never so harsh and lyrical.
What a delight to realise later that the reader Keith Bosley is also the translator! Amazing job.
I would tend to get bored by folk tales and myths if the text is plodding - it takes the driving energy of poetry like this to bring such material to life and that is here in abundance.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful