by Neil Gaiman
My dear friend Adrith at Life in the 025.5 managed to snag an Advanced Read Copy (ARC) of Norse Mythology. Knowing I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman’s work, she was kind enough to share it with me.
Thank you, Adrith!
Gaiman reconstructs Norse myth and legend into a collection of readable and entertaining short stories. He works primarily from two Medieval Icelandic literary works dating back to the 13th century. In his own words:
I spent my time instead with Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, and with the verses of the Poetic Edda, words from nine hundred years ago and before, picking and choosing what tales I wanted to retell and how I wanted to tell them, blending versions of myths from the prose and from the poems.
– Norse Mythology, p 15.
I gave this book five stars, not only for the overall quality of this book, but for the way Gaiman preserves and and makes relevant the old Norse explanations of the world.
In Norse Mythology, Gaiman takes disparate pieces of old stories and creates something new and accessible. He adds dimensions to the Marvel-influenced modern ideas of Thor, Loki, and Odin, and refocuses the view to include the greater pantheon of Norse gods and goddesses.
As expected, Gaiman tells these stories with ease and humor. He retains the magic, treachery, lust, and violence of these tales, but does so with a light hand.
My 14-year old recently read The Odyssey in her Freshman English class. She resented and struggled with reading Homer, and the enjoyment of Odysseus’ adventure was lost on her.
In direct contract, Gaiman has reinterpreted and forged together a book of old stories that I know my 14-year old would easily understand and most likely enjoy. I intend to pass this volume along to her.
Norse Mythology is a skillful preservation of the past for current generations, and for that, Gaiman deserves praise.
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