Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology by Neil GaimanNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
on February 7, 2017
Pages: 304

Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.
Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite fiction authors of all time, with a solid track record of amazing and engaging novels. When I saw that he had written a book about Norse mythology, I really should not have been as skeptical as I was, but that skepticism kept me from reading this book for a long time.

When you think about myths and legends, they are stories that are passed down from generation to generation, and over time they can adapt and evolve. The stories can be unique, as the story teller puts their own particular spin on the old old stories. And that is ultimately what Gaiman has done with this book, bringing his own brand of humour and craft to these stories.

I was not familiar with a lot of the stories which he was retelling, but I gained a greater understanding of them as they were built upon each other throughout the book. You really get a sense of the relationship between the people of that era and their gods, and of just how capricious and mischievous their deities could be.

There is a recent trend in publishing of retold fairytales, and I suppose to some degree this book fits into that category, since it is difficult to otherwise pigeonhole this masterful creation. Not quite fiction, not quite nonfiction, this should really be enjoyed for what it is, without being concerned with what it is and isn’t.

I am sorry Mr Gaiman, I should have known better than to doubt you.

Rating Report
Overall: five-stars

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