Ragnarök: The End of the Gods by A S Byatt - review by Ursula K Le Guin

Ursula K Le Guin

Towards Darkness

Ragnarök: The End of the Gods

By

Canongate 240pp £14.99 order from our bookshop
 

Retelling a great myth is like performing a famous piece of music: between faithfulness to the familiar score and personal interpretation of it lie many risks and choices. Between the worldview of a Norse skald, or poet, and that of a writer ten or fifteen centuries later, the scope for risks and choices is immense. Ragnarök, A S Byatt’s contribution to the Canongate Myths series, is a brilliant, highly intelligent, fiercely personal rendition of the Scandinavian mythology.

Its personal element has particular resonance for me because, like A S Byatt, I was a child during the Second World War. I, too, read the Norse myths, and like her I found they made sense of the strange world we were growing up in. But California was

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter