Find A Book

Shopping cart

Shopping cart

Looking for the Hidden Folk: How Iceland's Elves Can Save the Earth (Hardcover)

Looking for the Hidden Folk: How Iceland's Elves Can Save the Earth By Nancy Marie Brown Cover Image
$28.95
Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now!

Description


In exploring how Icelanders interact with nature—and their idea that elves live among us—Nancy Marie Brown shows us how altering our perceptions of the environment can be a crucial first step toward saving it.

Icelanders believe in elves. 

Why does that make you laugh?, asks Nancy Marie Brown, in this wonderfully quirky exploration of our interaction with nature. Looking for answers in history, science, religion, and art—from ancient times to today—Brown finds that each discipline defines what is real and unreal, natural and supernatural, demonstrated and theoretical, alive and inert. Each has its own way of perceiving and valuing the world around us. And each discipline defines what an Icelander might call an elf.

Illuminated by her own encounters with Iceland’s Otherworld—in ancient lava fields, on a holy mountain, beside a glacier or an erupting volcano, crossing the cold desert at the island’s heart on horseback—Looking for the Hidden Folk offers an intimate conversation about how we look at and find value in nature. It reveals how the words we use and the stories we tell shape the world we see. It argues that our beliefs about the Earth will preserve—or destroy it.

Scientists name our time the Anthropocene: the Human Age. Climate change will lead to the mass extinction of numerous animal species unless we humans change our course. Iceland suggests a different way of thinking about the Earth, one that offers hope. Icelanders believe in elves— and you should, too.

About the Author


Nancy Marie Brown is the author of several highly praised cultural histories, including The Real ValkyrieSong of the Vikings, and Ivory Vikings. These titles have been favorably reviewed in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Economist, the Times Literary Supplement, the Wall Street Journal, and many other journals. Brown has spent decades studying Icelandic literature and culture. She lives on a farm in Vermont where she keeps four Icelandic horses and an Icelandic sheepdog.

Praise For…


"A fascinating inquiry into the Icelandic belief in elves. This compelling and highly readable book offers a thought-provoking examination of nature of belief itself, drawing compelling conclusions among humans, storytelling, and the environment."
Bookpage, starred review

"Wherever readers stand on the elf question, they'll come away with a new appreciation for Iceland and its
mysteries."
Booklist

"For decades, cultural historian Nancy Marie Brown has been fascinated by Iceland, a nation of natural and
supernatural wonders. Her book Looking for the Hidden Folk is a mischievous guide to reclaiming sacred connections
to places as a way of sparking environmentalist commitments. Brown delights in the fact that, in Icelandic, the word for home is the same as that for world: heima. An impish literary handbook, Looking for the Hidden Folk takes Iceland as a model of how to treat the whole world as a precious, aweinspiring home."
Forward Reviews

"Nancy Marie Brown reveals to us skeptics how rocks and hills are the mansions of elves, or at least what it takes to believe so. Looking For the Hidden Folks evocatively animates the Icelandic landscape through Brown's past and present travels and busts some prevalent clichés and myths along the way -- this book is my reply to the next foreign reporter asking about that Elf Lobby."
Egill Bjarnason, author of How Iceland Changed the World: The Big History of a Small Island

"Using ideas and stories about the hidden folk in Iceland as a stepping stone into the human perception of our homes in the world where stories and memories breathe life into places, be it through the vocabulary of quantum physics or folklore, Nancy Marie Brown makes us realise that there is always more to the world than meets the eye. And that world is not there for us to conquer and exploit but to walk into and sense the dew with our bare feet on the soft moss, beside breathing horses and mighty glaciers in the drifting fog that often blocks our view."
Gisli Sigurosson, Research Professor, The Arni Magnusson Institute, University of Iceland

“Nancy Marie Brown is a scholar and a pilgrim, and Iceland (plus much else) is here illuminated through her knowledge and passion.”
Thomas Swick, author of The Joys of Travel

"This is a sweeping and moving journey across time and space – through myth and theory, language, and literature – into the world of wonder and enchantment. Beautifully written, Looking for the Hidden Folk offers a compelling and surprising case for the recognition of forces and beings not necessarily 'seen' in everyday life but nevertheless somehow sensed, exploring their complexity and why they matter."
Gísli Pálsson, Professor of Anthropology, University of Iceland

“Astonishing, lyrical, and thought-provoking. Yes, I am a scientist, but this book makes me consider a new reality. I am captivated.”
Pat Shipman, author of Our Oldest Companions

"A love song to the living landscape of Iceland and the cultural history in which it is clothed, inspired by the author‘s numerous encounters with the country and its people over the last decades"
Terry Gunnell, Professor of Folkloristics, University of Iceland

"In this fascinating book Nancy Marie Brown shows how the stories of Iceland’s hidden people are a natural human response to the island’s extraordinary landscape, and makes the reader question whether dismissing such belief as irrational is itself irrational.”
Michael Ridpath, author of the Magnus Iceland Mysteries


Product Details
ISBN: 9781639362288
ISBN-10: 1639362282
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: October 4th, 2022
Pages: 328
Language: English

The Norwich Bookstore is locally owned, community focused, and proudly independent!