I have always loved reading A.S. Byatt’s works. From Elementals to Possession: A Romance to The Children’s Book, every book of hers has been unique and distinct. A.S. Byatt’s books at the same time tend to be long and pedantic. There have also been times when I have reached the middle of a book and thought of giving it up, however was glad enough that I did not.
A.S. Byatt’s new book, “Ragnarok: The End of the Gods” is centered on retelling the finale of the Norse Mythology. The story is about the destruction of life on this planet and the end of the gods themselves. As per the Norse Myth, the world will come to an end and there will be only two human survivors.
Byatt has added her own twist to the myth. Told through the eyes of a young girl in wartime Britain, who is known as the only thin child, Ragnarok sets off brilliantly. The thin gird chances upon a book entitled Asgard and the Gods and shares those myths with the reader. With her father fighting in the war, she reads the myths and waits for the end of the world to come around.
The book is a collection of myths leading to Ragnarok. The book made me aware of the Nordic myths which do to some extent resemble the myths of other cultures – so there is familiarity as well for the reader. At the same time, one can also read A.S. Byatt’s thoughts on myths, which are included in the book. I enjoyed the crispness of A.S. Byatt’s writing. No word or thought is out of place in the book and may be that is what leads to the book not getting boring or dull.
I read the book in one sitting and probably that’s the best way to read it. This book is a stepping stone to make the reader want to know more about Norse myths and traditions.