The Fated Sky

Wednesday 10 August 2022


LISTENED TO THE AUDIOBOOK OF THIS BOOK A  FEW YEARS AGO and still think about it. Liminal historical time periods will always my favourite settings. This particular story is set at the end of the age of vikings. The prose is a perfect  balance of interesting historical details, endearing characters and beautiful prose to holding it together. I'm always in awe of discovering such gems in Children's Literature. I wish I could help in giving them a second life. 

Nicki Paull, the narrator, is most excellent. My favourite part is towards the end of the book, when spoiler! spoiler! the reader comes to realize the narrator is recounting her past, not telling the story in the present moment. 

I felt nothing, except my need to stay there with him. Grief came later and stayed for many a day. Well, that was long ago, but I still feel what I feel. I still remember how we learned each others bodies in his bed before we went to [Vegasund?]. I remember how he promised me a child each year in Iceland. I remember how he used to read my face with his hands. I remember his singing and the golden music of his harp. The first time that I heard him playing in the great hall at [Sessin?]. I remember that he was gentle with his dog and his horse. Oh, I remember much. So much, and good it is. But I have forgotten much also. More than ever I wanted to. Time does that. Time washes off the skin of life, but not the pain and not the joy. They stay. 

In the audiobook version, right before saying "Well, that was long ago," the narrator breaks the fourth wall by letting out a sorrowful sigh, as if about to cry. I got chills of delight from it. I'm still geeking out about it. What an effective way to communicate the change tone the author was going for. Whoever thought of it, well done. 

Cover: John Macallan Swan. The Prodigal Son. 1888. Tate, London.

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