with Odin, Thor, Loki and the Norse Goddess of Love, Freya.
Ingrid Hall wrote to me that the contents of this book will be nothing like I have ever read before and she was 100% correct. Ingrid doesn’t just write, she crafts words together in a very unique and artistic way. It is almost like reading Shakespeare. I don’t mean that it was written in poetic 16th century prose. I mean that it was brilliantly written in an English that is far removed from my American ears and I loved it. Let me explain. Granny Irene’s Guide to the Afterlife is written in the first person from Irene’s point of view, after she has died. Instead of speaking the queen’s or even BBC English, her dialect is Granny Irene’s own distinctive northern accent called Geordie. Here is an example from the book:
“I am not doing as I am told. I am not putting on that stupid psychic life-jacket.
I am not getting into line. They can all bog off and leave me to wallow in my
auld ash tree and if I happen to go down with the ship, then who cares? Not me.
Just look at them all; the fools down there on that plain, whispering and
muttering, and spinning round and round in little circles, whilst them that are
meant to be in charge, the Gods and the Valkyries, they bark out their orders.”
But not to worry, Ingrid has a Geordie to English dictionary at the beginning of the book. (Now I just need an Ingrid British to American English translation.) Here is an example of that: (The American additions are mine.)
Loo/Bog/Netty (Toilet/Lavatory) – American (Rest Room)
Hump something around (Carry/transport it) – I would have thought this one was sex)
Cottons on (Realises/Becomes aware) – American (Realizes)
Kiss your backside goodbye (Die)
Bog off (Go away/Stop bothering someone)
Chippy (Fast food takeaway) – American (Fast food to go)
A jump (Sex) – American (Oh yeah!)
The story is more than intriguing at every turn. It brought me into the after-life world that Granny Irene’s was experiencing, and while there, it seemed oh so real to me. I felt every emotion possible to mankind, from delight to having the crap scared out of me, from arousal to downright anger at times. You see, along with the warning at the beginning of the book about the Geordie dialect, Ingrid warns about those easily offended or those reluctant to have their opinions and beliefs challenged. I certainly found this to be true as my dear own Catholic Church and wonderful priests are not shown in the greatest of lights from the perspective of this afterlife. But Ingrid also claims that the book is character driven, unique, fast-paced and quirky. It invites the reader to re-consider their perspective of the "afterlife". This, it delivers in a wonderful way.
The story doesn’t just take you to Viking heaven. Among many other places, including good old Earth and the land of the living, Granny Irene is also taken by the serpent to Hades. Imagine being a nice old lady, dying and seeing Hell represented by a house of prostitution, where every sight is an invasion to your senses. It was scary and frightfully erotic at the same time.
Also at the beginning of the book is a bibliography of gods, goddesses and odious creatures. Here is a sample:
LOKI - A shape shifter with an incredible amount of influence in the underworld. Sworn enemy of Odin, they are both more similar than they care to admit.
THE WORLD SERPENT - Traditionally portrayed as an evil monster that surrounds the earth, grasping it in his tail, his arch enemy is Thor. I have however had so much fun with the serpent and have turned him into an emotional character: A thinker and Irene’s spiritual guide and friend.
FENRIR THE WOLF - Son of Loki, brother of the serpent and Hel. His loyalty to his family will as the series develops be called into question. He is central to the “Chloe” plot.
THE WHITE KNIGHT (HEIMDALLR) - Traditionally tasked with sounding his horn heralding the onset of Ragnarok, the white knight is also often cited as the creator of the class system within human society and this will be woven into future books. He is also a spiritual guide to Irene and has a role to play in the Frigg/Skuld storyline.
Ingrid Hall just may have written a masterpiece of which I have never read the likes of and will probably will never experience again…that is until Granny Irene’s Guide to the Afterlife – Part 2 comes out. As Granny Irene herself might say, “I’ll have to just sit me auld bum down and wait.”