Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A. S. Byatt

A beautiful, darkly powerful retelling of the saga of the old Norse gods and monsters and how their world (and ours) ended (or will end). The frame tale stars a young girl (“the thin child”) who is sent to the country from London during the Blitz of World War II. Given a book, Asgard and the Gods, she immerses herself in the stories, finding them far more satisfying than the pallid, rather anemic tales of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” told to her in Sunday school. The tragedy of the old gods is that they can die nobly but cannot figure out how to save the world. A thoughtful epilogue on the subject of myth closes the book.

Reviewed by Charleynne


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