Norse Mythology; A Book Review
Author: Neil Gaiman
When I began reading this book I felt somewhat discouraged. The introduction gave me the impression that I was ready to wade through hours and hours of a scholarly account of the poetic edda. I sat on my bed priming myself to endure another dry translation of archaic myths riddled with footnotes and fragmentary accounts. I was happily surprised to find that no such torture would be in store for me.
Quite unlike many other authors and translators of ancient myths, Gaiman is able to make use of a compelling and simple writing style of breath new life into the Norse myths. I began reading the book in the dim light produced by the clouded sun that shone through my window. By the time I was finished I was far from that place, gripped with terror and amazement, as the book rendered up before me images of the world serpent in battle with Thor, and armies of the undead clashing in the winter of Ragnarok. Gaiman transported me to a land of ice and cold where Loki plots and plans, giants inhabit fortresses, and the god’s display great power and cruelty, often for perverse ends.
In his retelling of Norse myths, Gaiman is able to transform the gods from one dimensional caricatures of themselves into dynamic characters with anthropomorphic motives and emotions. It is perhaps this as well as the dramatic plot and vivid retelling that makes Gaiman's book so outstanding. My only critique of this book is its brevity as by the time I was done reading I found myself hoping to lay my hands on more of the Norse mythological tales. Hopefully you will feel the same way.