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Ragnarok: The End of the Gods Audio Download – Unabridged

4.0 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 3 hours and 45 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Canongate Books
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 7 Oct. 2011
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005TJV5W4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a powerful re-telling of an ancient myth through the eyes and mind of a child reading about the Norse gods during the Second World War. The child, evacuated to the countryside, roams in woods and fields and takes delight in the beauty of the natural world. She gathers armfuls of flowers, knowing there will always be more to replace them. She visualizes the bombing raids over London as the Wild Hunt of Woden.

The book does not speak directly of our current environmental crisis, and yet there is an underlying feeling throughout that this is a myth for our time. It tells of a world that was created, that was abundant and full of life, and then was destroyed. Already the English landscape we inhabit is very different to that of the 1940s and immeasurably less diverse. This ancient myth offers no solutions, only warning - and what a terrifying end of the world it shows, as the people wait for a spring that never comes, wolves swallow the moon and sun, and the stars fall "like spent candles" from the sky.
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Format: Kindle Edition
When I first saw this title was available on NetGalley, I was so excited and requested it at once. I've loved everything I've read by Byatt and this story was of particular interest to me as I adore mythology.

I devoured this book in one sitting and loved every minute of it. The story of Ragnarok is told here as seen through the eyes of a young girl, reading the mythology from a book while she lives in the country during the war. I loved the way the child related the story to her own experiences of war and religion.

This book shifts between the child's thoughts and the Ragnarok story, but it never feels fragmented as Byatt manages to balance the two elements perfectly. The prose is beautiful and descriptive yet not overly 'flowery' and it is a real pleasure to read it and lose yourself in the words.

I enjoyed the note from Byatt at the end, discussing the approach she'd used, as that really helped bind the piece together.

It's been a while since I last did any reading on Northern myth, but I now feel inspired to grab up my copies of the Edda and the Kalevala again. This is definitely a book that I will be buying myself a print copy of so that I can keep it in my library and reread it in the future. Highly recommended to both lovers of literary fiction and those interested in mythology.

I received this book as a free ebook ARC from NetGalley.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ragnarök is the latest edition to Canongate's excellent Myths series, all standalone novels by a variety of the world's finest writers. Written by A.S. Byatt of The Children's Book fame, it tells the Nordic story of the Judgement of the Gods or the end of the world.

Told through the eyes of a girl in wartime Britain, known only as the thin child, Ragnarök is a good introduction to Nordic myths. The thin child finds a book entitled Asgard and the Gods in the house she is evacuated to and she shares those myths with the reader. With her father fighting in the war, the thin girl is going through her very own Ragnarök, knowing that the end of her world must surely be coming.

The novel is not really about the thin girl though, it is more a collection of myths that lead up to Ragnarök. From the creation story of Yggdrasil, a great tree whose ecosystem was the world, to the tale of the great serpent Jörmungandr, who encircled the world. Like the thin child, Loki has always been my favourite player in the Nordic myths and this mischevious demi-god plays a big part in most of them.

Reading this, you will get the feeling of familiarity, even if you don't know the myths themselves. It really does emphasis that myths are borrowed and adapted throughout cultures. The Nordic Hel will have shaped the Christianity's Hell of eternal torment much more then the Greek underworld would have, where the Elysian fields were the reward of heroes.

The author's thoughts on myths are also included and are well worth a read. My copy (a proof not the Kindle edition) had place markers for the illustrations so I can't comment on those but am excited the see how it is illustrated. The bibliography is full of interesting titles if you wish to read more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked this up after reading Byatt's Possession. This is a much smaller book and I read it in around an hour, so it's only a quick read. It is one in the Canongate Myths series (I think Atwood's Penelopiad is also part of this series) and features the story of the excesses and end of the Norse Gods. Featuring the trickster Loki, Gods, Thor and Odin (characters I'm ashamed to admit, I was only familiar with through the Marvel stories), the book relates the traditional stories behind these Gods and - considering their excesses - their inevitable end.

I loved the ecological message in the text - and Byatt's reading of this into the stories of the myths. I also loved the "thin child" who is so influenced by the stories, and who is clearly Byatt herself. This is a lovely quick read - particularly if you are interested in ecocriticism at all. Definitely recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A presumably autobiographical account of A S Byatt's relationship with the Norse myths. The writing style is gorgeous, but another reason for the 4 stars is that I had exactly the same experience as Byatt when I was a child, entranced by tales of the Aesir and Vanir against which the stories in the Bible seemed to me, as to her, to be insipid and ponderous. Now, if "Religious Education" lessons at school had been about the likes of Odin and Loki, I might have been more interested!
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