Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman

Today I'm looking at Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. Obviously Gaiman is one of my favorite authors so to find out that he had produced his own version of Norse mythology and there was an audiobook actually read by Neil Gaiman I was incredibly eager to get this book. As were a ton of other people because I had to wait for a few months just to finally get it from the library. This book is basically Gaiman's collection of Norse myths, from creation to Ragnarok, written and read in his own style. This is obviously not a complete collection of Norse myths, but it definitely includes the major stories such as how the gods got their marvelous gifts, the construction of Asgard, the chaining of Fenrir, and the death of Baldr.

As much as I hate to say it, this book was actually kind of a disappointment because Gaiman doesn't improve or expand much on the existing body of Norse lore. Yes, everything is written in his own style with its quirks, but at the end of the day this is just another translation of the scraps of Norse mythology that have survived. Unlike The Gospel of Loki, which tells Norse myths from Loki's perspective and actually creates an alternate interpretation of the lore, Gaiman's work doesn't stray too far from what we've seen in previous translations.

I think if you haven't read any Norse mythology before, this would be a good book to read because Gaiman covers all the major stories. And if you're looking for a good copy of Norse myths to just have around the house and read from time to time, this would be a good choice as well. Gaiman, of course, is a fantastic writer and manages to get some passages into his own tone, but at the end of the day I just can't say this really brings anything new to the table in terms of Norse mythology.

- Kalpar

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