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I’ve always found it difficult to read the myths: whether the Greek, Roman, Nordik - whatever - there’s something about them that makes them incomprehensible to me; I quickly get lost amongst all the names and creatures and feuds, and I always thought that it was because I didn’t have the background knowledge, or the ‘classics’ education, to be able to follow the stories. And that's just how it was feeling, once again, as I was listening to this ... I love the stories, and the sheer imaginative strangeness of the tales, but couldn’t help feeling I was missing more than I was picking up, and if the book wasn’t so short I probably wouldn’t have made it to the end - and that wonderful last chapter. In it, A.S. Byatt explains her own difficulty with the myths - even after a lifetime of reading, studying and retelling them - and she gives a beautiful account of how they've shaped her view of humanity, and her work too, and in so doing she made the whole tale of Ragnarok make (some sort of) sense to me ... Wonderful stuff. I'll definitely be listening to this again in the future. (It helped that the narrator was brilliant: perfect tone for this tale.) So, overall a very satisfying and enjoyable experience, and a thoroughly recommended part of the Cannongate Myth series - though I would say to listen to the last chapter first!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Ragnarok again? Why?
I had kept this in my wish list until I had a cash credit and wish I had bought is months ago. It is definitely worth a credit. The story is, as it says in the review, based around Norse mythology from the perspective of a modern - 2nd world war -perspective. It is so much more. It contemplates 'the big questions' of creation and destruction using beautiful language and vivid imagery. the story is told from the view point of a child growing and developing in wartime. Her views and understanding shift and evolve as she assimilates classical mythology into her present reality.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Ragnarok?
There are a dozen or more lovely moments. The imagery is perfect; poetic thought inspiring but not to flowery. That said the use of common names for the 'flora and fauna' in the descriptions were very good. The seasons for flowers were correct - I'm a Botanist and it jars me, out of the story, when this sort of detail is wrong. I know nothing of Norse mythology this story made me curious.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
Personally I enjoyed the descriptions of the girl's walk to school. It brought back memories from my own -although different -childhood and captures the joy of playing outside, discovering and being a part of nature.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
The story made me reflect and day dream. In fact I fell asleep listening to it, not at all because I was bored. I was so relaxed imagining the pictures painted by the words and excellent narration that I drifted away, odd really as some of the descriptions are quite gruesome. Definitely worth a listen.
Any additional comments?
The only bit I didn't like was the end, sorry. No need for the thoughts on myths bit.Metaphor is a better medium.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful