Neil Gaiman is one awesome author. My first introduction to Gaiman was, if memory serves, his collaborative work with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens. I found that book absolutely hilarious when I was in high school. Side note: I just read and reviewed Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt which is related to Good Omens as both books feature the Device family, witches, and Witchfinder Generals.
From Good Omens through the Sandman graphic novel series to Stardust, Anansi Boys, American Gods, and The Graveyard Book (and a bunch of short stories and other works I can’t remember right now), Gaiman has not disappointed me. And Norse Mythology did not break my Gaiman record.
In this work, which is essentially a collection of Norse tales, Gaiman captivatingly relates some of the exploits of Odin, Thor, Loki, and the rest of the gods from beginning to end, from origin story to Ragnarok. These stories are easily digestible, presented in as uncomplicated a fashion as possible, and yet remarkably precise and thought-provoking.
Clearly Norse Mythology has moved more fully into popular culture these days with the whole Avengers hullaballoo and Thor, from said movies, being all…..
Hubba, Hubba. But I still remember my very first introduction to Thor….
Vincent D’Onofrio in Adventures in Babysitting. Man, I loved that movie when I was in grade school. I wonder how it holds up….
Back to Gaiman’s book. The prose is beautiful, descriptive without being trite and expressive without being sappy. The stories are standalone but readers can’t help but see the thread that runs through them all, the thread that binds the Norse who told these stories with the modern people who read them today, the questioning of what it means to be alive, to be a good person, how did we get here, what’s coming…
I highly recommend reading it.