Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology

Large Print - 2017
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Having already appropriated Odin and Loki for his novel American Gods, Gaiman turns his restless imagination to a retelling of Norse folklore (a youthful interest of his). He begins by introducing us to the three main mythological figures: Odin, the highest and oldest of the gods; his son, Thor, who makes up in brawn what he lacks in brains; and Loki, offspring of giants and a wily trickster. In a series of stories, we learn how Thor acquired his famous hammer, Mjollnir, how Odin tricked a giant into building a wall around Asgard, the home of the gods, how Loki helped Thor retrieve his hammer from the ogre that had stolen it, and how a visit to the land of the giants resulted in the humbling of Thor and Loki. In most of the stories, a consistent dynamic rules as one god tries to get something over on another god, but novelist that he is, Gaiman also provides a dramatic continuity to these stories that takes us from the birth of the gods to their blood-soaked twilight. Employing dialogue that is anachronistically current in nature, Gaiman has great fun in bringing these gods down to a human level. Like John Gardner in Grendel, a classic retelling of Beowulf, and Philip Pullman in his rewriting of Hans Christian Andersen stories, Gaiman takes a well-worn subject and makes it his own.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine :, Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning,, 2017
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781410499493
Branch Call Number: LP 293.13 GAI
Characteristics: large print.,rda
331 pages (large print) ; 23 cm


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Mar 15, 2018

Reading Neil Gaiman is usually a joy, but I found many reasons to be more delighted than usual with this lovely volume of Norse myth. I am going to go ahead and say this is a five of five star review, and I'm happy to say why.

To begin with, this is a book which can in large part be shared with children. The ancients weren't known for being delicate about sex and violence, but Gaiman has a great way of getting those points across in a way kids can understand. (See "The Wolves In The Walls" or "Coraline" for his style - they're scary, even bloody, but they're not gross.) I thoroughly enjoyed reading parts out loud to my son, and he laughed and made faces at all the right parts. Obviously, with any book it's parental discretion, but I found this fantastic to share.

Next are the sources of the humor. This is a bit more subtle, but oh-so-welcome. It doesn't take a genius to understand that sexism is and has been a thing for generation upon generation. (Although less in the Nordic cultures than many - a point Gaiman clearly enjoys.) Some of the biggest myths have people dressing up as the opposite sex, or even changing form into another species. Gaiman never makes that the source of a joke, though. Instead, he finds other things to make funny, like a giant waiting for his stallion to return, or Thor being told (over and over again) to shut up. I like that much better than shaming humor.

Gaiman doesn't mind at all writing his dialogue to be read or spoken aloud. (Far from it - he makes a point of that in his introduction.) And who better than a comic book writer to appreciate the gift he's been given by the Marvel movies? He makes it clear that the Marvel characters are not the same as their mythological predecessors. At the same time it's obvious that Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, and Idris Elba could have read these lines and enjoyed them. I am not ashamed of having heard the dialogue in these talented voices and hope others will get as big a kick out of it as I did.

I haven't yet read the Sagas and the Eddas myself. I know that may have impacted my enjoyment here, but I can only recommend this book as one more in a series of tellings of tales that still live as long as we tell them.

Mar 13, 2018

Light and fun reading.

Dec 23, 2017

As a child, I read all the Norse myths and preferred them over the Greek/Roman ones, which I also read. I didn't find Gaiman's retelling particularly inspired or engaging unfortunately, but then I was expecting a novelization.

Nov 14, 2017

Great book, I thought it was hilarious to read the story how Thor got his hammer stolen and he had to dress up in drag to steal it back, or how bad poetry was created by Odin's wet farts.

Oct 29, 2017

This short non-fiction book is an easy-to-read retelling of the well known old Norse myths. Gaiman's highly accessible writing breathes new life into familiar characters, such as Thor and Loki. I particularly enjoyed Gaiman's clever introduction.

Aug 11, 2017

Within the panoply of all the world's great mythologies, the Norse surely stands out as the most violent and bloody, reflecting the society from which it arose. This is the most complete collection I've yet found and being presented in contemporary English, it's the most accessible rendition. However, no writer could hope to make this set of stories and characters match the scope and grandeur of the ancient Greek myths; and it lacks the sheer charm and humanity of the Migmaw legends. All that said, Gaiman did a fine job of pulling it all together.

Jul 02, 2017

i loved this,it was so clear,clean and informative!

Jun 29, 2017

A very good retelling of Norse Mythology. The author covers the stories in sequence, which is something that is not frequently done. Most authors emphasize certain stories, and exclude other entirely but this volume was fairly complete.

Jun 19, 2017


Jun 05, 2017

Good overview of Norse mythology; an easy read. Felt somewhat sanitized/over simplified, for example, "The delicate among you should stop your ears, or read no further... Odin blew some of the mead out of his behind".

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Feb 21, 2017

In the beginning, there was nothing but the mist world and the fire world. From these came Ymir, a giant both male and female, the first of all beings. Ymir was slain by Odin, called the all-father, for Odin both created the gods that you will read about here, and breathed life into the first humans. In these pages, Thor will acquire his famous hammer, the mighty Mjollnir. Loki will get his fellow gods into and out of trouble countless times, until he finally plays the trick that will lose him their trust once and for all. Witness the creation of the great walls of Asgard, the genesis of the gift of poetry, and the source of the gods’ immortality, as retold by Neil Gaiman.


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Feb 21, 2017

There were things Thor did when something went wrong. The first thing he did was ask himself if what had happened was Loki’s fault. Thor pondered. He did not believe that even Loki would have dared to steal his hammer. So he did the next thing he did when something went wrong, and went to ask Loki for advice.

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