A standout entry in Canongate's consistently impressive Myths series, Byatt's treatment of Germanic saga and cosmogony distinguishes itself for the narrative grace of its frame and for its fearless plunge into the heart of the matter. Which in this case, of course, is doom, and this book triumphs in engaging myth to draw together the archaic, the historic, and the current. Special citation for outstanding mediations on the wolf and the snake. —Recommended by Matthew, City Lights Books
In this brilliant retelling of the Norse myth about the end of the world, the award-winning author of Possession and The Children's Book unleashes a story of the destruction of life on this planet and the end of the gods themselves. Just as Wagner used this dramatic and catastrophic struggle for the climax of his Ring Cycle, so A. S. Byatt now reinvents it in all its intensity and glory.
As the bombs of the Blitz rain down on Britain, one young girl is evacuated to the countryside. She is struggling to make sense of her new wartime life. Then she is given a copy of Asgard and the Gods—a book of ancient Norse myths—and her inner and outer worlds are transformed.
How could this child know that fifty years on, many of the birds and flowers she took for granted on her walks to school would become extinct? War, natural disaster, reckless gods, and the recognition of impermanence in the world are just some of the threads that Byatt weaves into this most timely of books. Linguistically stunning and imaginatively abundant, Ragnarök is a landmark piece of storytelling from one of the world's great writers.