Kennedy and Boyd

Travel Light, with The Varangs' Saga
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By Mitchison, Naomi. With an introduction by Isobel Murray
ISBN 1904999972
SERIES The Naomi Mitchison Library
Paperback  180 pages
Published 1 June 2009
UK Price £11.95   Order from
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In her novels, Naomi Mitchison frequently tackled serious issues, war and peace, conflicts of loyalties, freedom and slavery, and of course feminism. But a very few times she allowed her work to be primarily a question of fun, or play. In Travel Light (1952) she wrote a charming fairy tale in which a king's daughter was saved from death as a baby, then successively lived with bears and dragons. It is set in a Never Land which is nonetheless gently Norse, where Odin, the All-Father, 'made men in order to amuse himself'. In the course of her journey, Halla becomes perhaps the most individual Valkyrie in literature.

This edition also contains The Varangs' Saga, a previously unpublished holiday entertainment from 1926, where most of the fun comes from describing young British couples with children on a group holiday in France, but describing them in the manner of an Old Norse saga. Mitchison wrote: 'Play is absolutely necessary to everyone: we are the kind of animal that plays.'

Isobel Murray is Emeritus Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of Aberdeen.


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