This translation of Grettir's saga (Grettir the strong) by Jesse Byock, is utterly astounding. I had high hopes for the translation, as Byock also translated the excellent Saga of the Volsungs (available from Penguin classics) and I was not disappointed. Byock captures the signature prose of the Icelandic sagas; terse, straightforward, violent, but oddly poetic in a stripped down sort of way.
Grettir's saga is perhaps the most famous of Iceland's "outlaw sagas," and for good reason; after being exiled, Grettir roams Iceland and Norway, ridding the land of all types of creatures, including trolls and zombies. However, within this brutal warrior we also see a human, almost touching side: Grettir is also a poet, and happens to be deathly afraid of the dark, a fear that develops to the point that he will not travel at night alone. Byock's translation captures the story in all of its violent, stripped down beauty. This story is further illuminated by maps, illustrations and explanatory notes.
While I can not directly compare this translation to that available from Penguin Classics (by Bernard Scudder) I can say that I have read sagas from both translators, and both are excellent. I have read Bernard Scudder's rendering of Egil's Saga, and it is everything one could wish for. I would imagine the two Grettir translations are equally excellent, and I am sure that the maps and notes are adequate in the Penguin version. The Oxford version which I am reviewing here is a few dollars more than the Penguin, but I believe it also has a better "feel" to it than the Penguin one, which seems to have flimsy binding which is not usually characteristic of Penguin.
Read and enjoy. If you are new to Icelandic Sagas I would recommend "The Saga of the Volsungs," but don't miss out on Grettir.