Norse Mythology (2018), Neil Gaiman

I wrote a (very) long review of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane as part of my application to the MA I’ve just completed. This book is a different god. It’s a collection of short stories, each taken from myths about Odin, Thor, Loki and other Norse gods.

There is something cartoonish about these stories. The writing is top notch and the style is an excellent fit for the material. I feel like the Marvel Avengers films have cursed my enjoyment a little by implanting Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in my brain. I can’t unsee them.

I’m reminded, in reading this, how old these characters are, and how central to the human experience storytelling is. For short stories they carry a lot of narrative weight and a couple of them were unexpectedly moving. It gets tiring towards the end though, because the stories are so similar in tone and there is no overarching story to tie them all together — it feels like you’re reading variations of the same story over and over again.

I saw this book in a shop and didn’t fancy it. Then it turned out to be the next book for a reading group I wanted to try out. I’m glad I read it. That’s one of the great things about reading lists that other people choose, I guess. That group meets tomorrow. I wonder what other people made of it?