- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (7 February 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 039360909X
- ISBN-13: 978-0393609097
- Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.8 x 21.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 118 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,13,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Norse Mythology Hardcover – 7 Feb 2017
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Taking a few modern liberties with the stories, Gaiman’s Norse Mythology delights in the gods’ petty machinations as much as their heroics. In these accessible, retold tales, fantasy is odd, and real, and dire.
—Ethan Gilsdorf, The Boston Globe
No contemporary fiction writer gets more of his power from the mythological tradition than Neil Gaiman. . . . As always, Gaiman’s a charming raconteur . . . [and he] recognizes a ripping yarn when he sees one.—Douglas Wolk, Los Angeles Times
A gripping, suspenseful and quite wonderful reworking of these famous tales. Once you fall into the rhythm of its glinting prose, you will happily read on and on, in thrall to Gaiman’s skillful storytelling.—Michael Dirda, Washington Post
Weaving together ancient Norse mythology with 21st-century sensibility, Gaiman's storytelling once again recreates an entire genre for the modern reader.—Newsweek
In reinterpreting the tales so faithfully and with such abundant joy, Gaiman assumes the role of fireside bard, inviting us to sit close on a chilly winter’s night and chuckle and wonder along with him.—James Lovegrove, Financial Times
Gaiman’s masterful storytelling transcends our most vivid dreams, exploring ancient territory from a fantastically fresh perspective. . . . [and inviting us] to listen to stories in the same way we would as children: engrossed and enraptured by the magic of myth. . . . [Norse Mythology] will breathe new life into these old gods, reminding us of the power that great storytelling still holds over us all.
—Dani Hedlund, F(r)iction
Mr. Gaiman milks [the Norse gods’ hijinks] for all their humor and incongruity, very much in the spirit of the originals. . . . [He] has produced . . . a clear, continuous narrative, with big scenes the same as they always were but with emotional pointers added.—Tom Shippey, The Wall Street Journal
Remarkable. . . . Gaiman has provided an enchanting contemporary interpretation of the Viking ethos.—Lisa L. Hannett, The Atlantic
About the Author
Neil Gaiman is the author of the New York Times best-selling A View from the Cheap Seats, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Graveyard Book, Coraline, Neverwhere, and the Sandman series of graphic novels, among other works. His fiction has received Newbery, Carnegie, Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner Awards. His novel American Gods aired as a TV series in 2017. Originally from England, he lives in the United States, where he is a professor at Bard College.
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Norse Mythology is a collection of stories that explain in detail important concepts and foundations of the North Germanic people. Although with the uprising of Christianity, most of the literature and scriptures have been lost but a few passed on works have still survived through the concealment of the Gods as kings and princes so as to appease the Christian rule. Neil Gaiman has taken the stories from the poem called Edda and put through the situations through a little fictional magic of his own.
He goes on to explain the conception of the world according to Norsemen and how the use of pagan symbols and worship slowly formed a full fledged religion. The importance of the world tree Yggdrasil is understood as it marks the centre of the Norse Universe, stemming 9 realms from it. The Gods are born of a giant called Ymir and it’s his sons, Odin, Vili and Vè who later on slay him to create the remainder of all in existence, including Asgard and Midgard. The beginning also marks the existence of the end, Ragnarok. The Norse Universe exist on this very phenomenon that one day, the fire demon Surtr will bring the Norse Universe to an end with his flaming sword as it will slash through gods and mortals alike to lay it all to ruin.
The myths of Thor, Loki, Balder, Heimdall and other gods are presented through stories and narratives also highlighting all the important incidents such as Odin becoming an All-Father, how Mjollnir became Thor’s weapon, the creation of beasts and Hell and Valhalla, etc.
My main fascination was with the differences between the actual myths and the ones portrayed by pop culture. The following are the major points of differences:
In the Marvel universe, Loki is referred to as the adopted brother of Thor but in reality, he is the blood brother of Odin instead.
Hela is shown as a beautiful creature that rules the darkness and is the firstborn of Odin but infact, Hel is one of the offspings of Loki with the giantess Angrboda and is half corpse and half alive. It is Odin who sends her to rule the land of the underworld where she takes care of all the souls who didn’t die in battle and greatness and go on to Valhalla, the Norse Heaven.
Thor is handsome and built and strong, is good at heart even if impulsive. However, unlike the suave Chris Hemsworth, he is also, to put it politely, dimwitted.
Fenris the wolf is not a pet adopted by Hela/Hel but is one of the 3 monster children of Loki and Angrboda.
The fact that you get to meet another set of Gods according to a culture that basically thrived and flourished on battles and plundering, it is not astonishing to see that they are not perfect. The stories often drip of betrayal, jealousy, hatred and cunning which were obviously very essential qualities for a culture such as that. The Gods aren’t picture perfect and show through their own human traits which is what makes it as engaging and realistic as it is.
This was my first ever Neil Gaiman book and Needless to say, I am spellbound. The manner in which the stories are narrated actually feels like an age old storyteller, sitting in the woods in front of a bonfire to speak of the Gods and their long forgotten tales of valour, humour and cunning.
Often when a culture and it’s myths are retold, there remains the risk of either overdoing the creativity or understating the actual facts. This book was the perfect example of what literary and creative restraint look like. Gaiman made sure you got all the facts, a laugh and then some but without disturbing the credibility of the actual mythology. He has tried every possible way to maintain the sanctity of the culture without making it too factual and boring.
If you aren’t a non fiction lover and would not want all the extra information but would like to skip over to the stories, you can simply skip over the first 20 or so pages but don’t. YOU NEED ALL THE INFORMATION FOR IT ALL TO MAKE SENSE!!!
A 5 star read that actually made me smile and laugh after so long. Definitely a read worthy of all the hype.
The book took me to a new world, introducing me to the Greek Gods and the things they do. I was expecting the Gods to be depicted as powerful, intelligent and selfless-giving figures, but that wasn't the case. The Gods were portrayed as powerful, yes, but they were quite selfish at times and also made dumb/ naive decisions, which was different and very interesting.
The Evil Knievel Loki had to be my favourite character. To those who are considering to read this book, or are about to read it, I will tell you to look forward to him.
Overall, I really enjoyed this read. Gaiman took me to a journey that was interesting and intriguing. The picture that he painted through his words will leave you captivated and blown away, wanting to ask for more.
If you're hesitating to get this book, I say hesitate no more. Just buy the damn book! :P
Neil Gaiman a lauded author of our times when writes about Norse Mythology it had to be on my reading list. With an attractive cover I had to had to pick it up sooner. So I did. Bloomsbury India published Norse Mythology was on my TBR of the month. I am not sure if it is relevant to Christmas or Winters, but it is one book for all seasons.
The book is a delightful spread of amusing and intelligent stories from Norse Mythology. We are familiar with Loki and Thor but the book turns them into closer home Gods we were still unaware of. There 15 stories with the first chapter as an introduction into the realm of Norse.
To say that all the stories were engaging and all the stories were amusing would be an understatement. Because, the author has a prowess to make your mind picture the whole scenario for you. He pulls you into the story with the power of his words and language. It is simplistically told so that you can read it out to your tot as a bedtime story. The writing is more storytelling-ish and that's a lovable factor of the book. The stories culminate to bring us to the end of the world, the destruction, Ragnarok. Now, that's yet another plus for the book. Another factor that's likeable is how the when you have a question arise in your mind gets answered immediately as you read the next line or next para. It is as if the author is reading your mind.
This was my first Neil Gaiman book and there was nothing to not like in it. I have to give up for the author's proficiency. I learnt a thing or two or perhaps many from the writing style.
My take is 5 out of 5 stars and 10 on 10 for readability.
Neil Gaiman achieves to impress my 2 year old kid, as far as lore goes i will give all stars to Neil.
Since the lore is available in so many forms that it does not feel as fresh content, (my kid would differ) in my opinion.
The book consists of short folk lore on Norse gods mostly involving Thor, Odin, Loki and a few others.
I have provided 3 stars for content and would give 5 starts for the presentation and compilation.