Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology: The Greatest Hits - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology: The Greatest Hits

Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology: The Greatest Hits

Published February 19, 2017

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photos by
www.neilgaiman.com

Neil Gaiman, one of the world’s most beloved genre-bending fiction writers has written a retelling of Norse Mythology.

The slow arc of a short-handled hammer glinting in the never-ending summer sunlight and the flame of Thor’s golden beard framing a terrible battle-cry.

The flash of cunning green eyes as Loki schemes, slipping through silt and slime as a salmon hiding from the wrath of the Gods in the depths of a rock pool. Puffs of sludge unsettling in the bottom where he lurks, smug and plump.

All these things Gaiman evokes and brings to life in his new book. With short sentences and purposeful parred-back prose he reminds us that yeah, nordic mythology is bonkers and preposterously violent but not without humour.

The respectful retelling of the Norse Gods’ greatest hits includes how Thor got his hammer, how the Mead of Poetry was made and blown out of Odin’s ass, how Loki became the source of earthquakes and many more.

Gaiman gives the reader a feel for the Norse Gods through his trademark witty dialogue. The back and forth between them expose the deities as more human than the mainstream gods of today.

These guys weren’t mysterious benevolent beings in the sky, wielding their powers with infinite wisdom.

Odin is wily. Thor, frankly, is a dumb-dumb (maybe even too stupid). Freyja is so over the patriarchy. Kvasir definitely registers on some kind of spectrum and Loki’s a gender-bending genius with an eating disorder and sociopathic episodes. To be honest if I saw any of these guys on the street, I’d cross to the other side.

All of these gods are doomed, as anyone who knows anything about Ragnarök will know, but reading the stories you figure, hey, they kind of deserve the end of the world.

The humanity of the gods in Gaiman’s portrayal makes this book an easy, enjoyable read that I look forward to sharing with my own kid when she’s a little older.

And I expect my daughter to feel as much passionate injustice for Lit the unfortunate dwarf. He is to the Norse Mythology book what Barb was to Stranger Things.

Norse Mythology is out now in respectable bookstores and if you’re in Iceland right now you might even be able to snag a few signed copies as Neil Himself is on our little rock.

It entered The New York Times hardcover fiction best-seller list at number one so, it’s pretty popular already. HURRY UP LIT NERDS – RAGNARÖK IS UPON US. 

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