Now in print: Neil Gaiman's "novelistic" book of Norse mythos

Readers of Neil Gaiman's essay collection The View From the Cheap Seats know how influential Jack Kirby's Mighty Thor and Roger Lancelyn Green's Myths of the Norsemen were on his work -- an influence that shows in books like American Gods and Odd and the Frost Giants -- so we were all excited when WW Norton announced that Gaiman would write a novelistic retelling of the Norse myths for them.



The book is called "Norse Myths" (of course) and it's out today.


Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales.

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki―son of a giant―blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman―difficult with his beard and huge appetite―to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir―the most sagacious of gods―is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.

Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

Norse Myths [Neil Gaiman/WW Norton]

(Image: Neil Gaiman, pinguino k, CC-BY)

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