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The Song of Roland

(2/5) This book wasn’t my favorite. Okay, that’s me being kind. I really didn’t enjoy it at all, except perhaps a small degree of satisfaction I derived reading some of France’s oldest surviving literature (translated of course). I almost DNF’ed it several times. I had to force myself to keep reading simply because it was on a reading list I’m working my way through.

This epic poem follows Charlemagne and his war in Spain fighting Muslims. It’s entirely a religious epic centered around “Our God is better than your God, and that is reason enough to kill thousands of you.” It was often the case that French soldiers shouted things like this to the dead men they stayed...easy to say that to your enemy when they are laying dead at your feet. Anyway, its style was of a different era, and no surprise as a result.

There were a few times I found myself enjoying the poetry of the story...only a few. Most times my eyes glazed over and I had to force myself to concentrate. I think perhaps if I read this three more times (barf) then I might better understand what is actually going on in the story. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of history and epics. But this? Rough...

I can see it being a great recommendation if you’re getting your PhD in literature. An old, translated French epic is the thing for you! For me? I’m glad it’s over and I can move on with my life. I’m giving this book two stars because I don’t feel like I’ve come away with anything.


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