A. S. Byatt. Ragnarök; The End of the Gods. Melbourne: Text, 2011 [Book Review]
journal contributionposted on 22.05.2017, 04:53 by Geoff Berry
The Nordic myths of Asgard have been paid a fair degree of respect over recent years. They were a major inspiration behind Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, which received magisterial filmic treatment from Peter Jackson, and were granted a more explicit role in Kenneth Branagh’s recent visual feast Thor. A. S. Byatt’s new novel Ragnarök is a much more personal journey than these heroic epics, retelling the core mythic cycle of the Northern Europeans through the thoughts and experiences of a small girl during the Second World War air raids in and around London. Explicitly taking its cues from Dr W Wagner’s 1880 book Asgard and the Gods, Byatt’s reverie also clearly utilises autobiographical details in its telling of “the thin child” during wartime.