During the second world war Antonia Byatt was given a book of Norse myths by her father. She read it and reread it but there was one myth she was drawn to in particular and which has continued to hold her under its spell - the Myth of Ragnarok. The Ragnarok myth, otherwise known as the Twilight of the Gods, plays out the endgame of Norse ...
During the second world war Antonia Byatt was given a book of Norse myths by her father. She read it and reread it but there was one myth she was drawn to in particular and which has continued to hold her under its spell - the Myth of Ragnarok. The Ragnarok myth, otherwise known as the Twilight of the Gods, plays out the endgame of Norse mythology. It is the myth in which the gods Odin, Freya and Thor die, the sun and moon are swallowed by the wolf Fenrir, the serpent Midgard eats his own tale as he crushes the world and the seas boil with poison. It is only after such monstrous death and destruction that the world can begin anew. This epic struggle provided the fitting climax to Wagner's Ring Cycle and just as Wagner was inspired by Norse myth (it was also Hitler's favourite myth!) so Byatt has taken this remarkable finale and used it as the underpinning of this highly personal and politically charged retelling.
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New. SHIPS FIRST CLASS UPGRADE from NJ: 2-3 DAY DELIV( US); GIFT-ABLE as NEW FIRST, FAST DELIVERY; NEAR NEW (subtle page toning from shelf life) AS SHOWN THIS COVER. Trade paperback (UK). Glued binding, 180 p. Audience: General/trade. 9291 9291--In this brilliant retelling of the Norse myth about the end of the world, the award-winning author of Possession and The Children's Book unleashes a story of the destruction of life on this planet and the end of the gods themselves. As the bombs of the Blitz rain down on Britain, one young girl is evacuated to the countryside. She is struggling to make sense of her new life, whose dark, war-ravaged days feel very removed from the peace and love being preached in church and at school. Then she is given a copy of Asgard and the Gods? a book of ancient Norse myths? and her inner and outer worlds are transformed. She feels an instant kinship with these vivid, beautiful, terrifying tales of the end of the gods? they seem far more real, far more familiar during these precarious days. How could this child know that fifty years on, many of the birds and flowers she took for granted on her walks to school would become extinct? War, natural disaster, reckless gods, and the recognition of impermanence in the world are just some of the threads that Byatt weaves into this most timely of books. Linguistically stunning and imaginatively abundant, Ragnarok is a landmark piece of storytelling from "one of the most brilliant minds and speakers of our generation" (The Independent). Just as Wagner used this dramatic and catastrophic struggle for the climax of his Ring Cycle, so A. S. Byatt now reinvents it in all its intensity and glory.
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Publishers Weekly, 2011-10-03 It is apt that Booker Prize-winning English writer Byatt chooses to locate her reimagining of the Norse myth Asgard and the Gods, which describes the destruction of the world, during that most apocalyptic of times in British history, the blitz. The little girl at the center of the story, whom we know only as "the thin child," has been evacuated, with her mother, from London to the idyllic countryside. Her father is a fighter pilot who's "in the air, in the war, in Africa, in Greece, in Rome, in a world that only exist[s] in books." The thin child goes to church and reads Pilgrim's Progress, but finds the concept of "gentle Jesus" naive and untenable in the face of war. Asgard and the Gods, on the other hand, provides, if not a more believable narrative, one that at least reflects the world she lives in: "It was a good story, a story with meaning, fear and danger were in it, and things out of control." The only question that nags at her is how "the good and wise Germans" who wrote it can be the same people bringing terror to the skies over her head at night. Told in lush prose, describing vividly drawn gods and their worlds, this is a book that brings the reader double pleasure; we return to the feeling of reading-or being read-childhood myths, but Byatt (Possession) also invites us to grapple with very grown-up intellectual questions as well. A highly unusual and deeply absorbing book. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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