Hardcover Þ Ragnarök eBook Ú

Hardcover Þ Ragnarök eBook Ú


Ragnarök ❰PDF / Epub❯ ✅ Ragnarök Author A.S. Byatt – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk Lei era una bambina magra, delicata, tutt ossa, come un tritone, con capelli che sembravano fili di fumo illuminati dal sole E c era la guerra L aviazione tedesca bombardava Londra e i centri industri Lei era una bambina magra, delicata, tutt ossa, come un tritone, con capelli che sembravano fili di fumo illuminati dal sole E c era la guerra L aviazione tedesca bombardava Londra e i centri industriali Gli abitanti delle citt si rifugiavano in campagna Come la bambina e sua madre, che per un paradosso del destino in campagna, pur essendo sposata, pu avere una vita della mente Il padre via, nei cieli dell Africa, forse Sua madre, a cui piacciono le parole, le regala un libro, Asgard e gli d i, la storia del Ragnar k, la fine senza resurrezione degli d i norreni Il libro diventa una compagnia essenziale, la bambina lo legge ogni sera in un tenue spiraglio di luce, ammira il coraggio di Odino, si compiace degli inganni di Loki, si gode le sue avventure subacquee in compagnia della portentosa serpentessa sua figlia Di giorno riflette su quelle storie, a cui non crede, ma che tuttavia le si attorcigliavano nel cervello come fumo, ronzando come api scure dentro un alveare L aiutano a tenere a bada un inconscia disperazione Ha paura, paura che il padre non torni, paura di veder sparire il mondo che conosce Legge anche i miti greci e le fiabe dei Grimm e di Andersen, ma perfezione e fantasia non le offrono appigli per fronteggiare un senso di disastro imminente Gli d i norreni invece vanno incontro al disastro, e in questo le appaiono terribilmente umani, cos limitati e stupidi Sanno che verr il Ragnar k, ma non sono capaci di creare un mondo migliore Cavalcano nei cieli con un fragore di zoccoli che si confonde con il ronzio degli aerei durante i raid un paesaggio di lupi, caverne e acque turbolente, di spettri e bellicosi inganni In stridente contrasto con l idillico paesaggio della campagna inglese Non c salvezza nel mito norreno, ma proprio questo aiuta la bambina magra a sopravvivere, anzi, a vivere un infanzia di pensieri intensi e di precocissime memorie, che sedimentano giorno per giorno traducendosi in un archivio interiore al quale attinger nel corso della vita I pensieri e le visioni di cui A S Byatt da sempre dissemina i suoi romanzi trovano qui la loro unit , strutturandosi nella narrazione fluida e immaginifica di anni di caos C era la guerra ma da allora ce n sempre stata una e quel caos primordiale appare pi terapeutico di ogni credenza consolatoria.

    Kindle Welcome to the Kindle ereader store mente Il padre via, nei cieli dell Africa, forse Sua madre, a cui piacciono le parole, le regala un libro, Asgard e gli d i, la storia del Ragnar k, la fine senza resurrezione degli d i norreni Il libro diventa una compagnia essenziale, la bambina lo legge ogni sera in un tenue spiraglio di luce, ammira il coraggio di Odino, si compiace degli inganni di Loki, si gode le sue avventure subacquee in compagnia della portentosa serpentessa sua figlia Di giorno riflette su quelle storie, a cui non crede, ma che tuttavia le si attorcigliavano nel cervello come fumo, ronzando come api scure dentro un alveare L aiutano a tenere a bada un inconscia disperazione Ha paura, paura che il padre non torni, paura di veder sparire il mondo che conosce Legge anche i miti greci e le fiabe dei Grimm e di Andersen, ma perfezione e fantasia non le offrono appigli per fronteggiare un senso di disastro imminente Gli d i norreni invece vanno incontro al disastro, e in questo le appaiono terribilmente umani, cos limitati e stupidi Sanno che verr il Ragnar k, ma non sono capaci di creare un mondo migliore Cavalcano nei cieli con un fragore di zoccoli che si confonde con il ronzio degli aerei durante i raid un paesaggio di lupi, caverne e acque turbolente, di spettri e bellicosi inganni In stridente contrasto con l idillico paesaggio della campagna inglese Non c salvezza nel mito norreno, ma proprio questo aiuta la bambina magra a sopravvivere, anzi, a vivere un infanzia di pensieri intensi e di precocissime memorie, che sedimentano giorno per giorno traducendosi in un archivio interiore al quale attinger nel corso della vita I pensieri e le visioni di cui A S Byatt da sempre dissemina i suoi romanzi trovano qui la loro unit , strutturandosi nella narrazione fluida e immaginifica di anni di caos C era la guerra ma da allora ce n sempre stata una e quel caos primordiale appare pi terapeutico di ogni credenza consolatoria."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 152 pages
  • Ragnarök
  • A.S. Byatt
  • Italian
  • 09 August 2019
  • 8806214020

About the Author: A.S. Byatt

AS Byatt Antonia Susan Byatt is internationally known for her novels and short stories Her novels include the Booker Prize winner Possession, The Biographer s Tale and the quartet, The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman, and her highly acclaimed collections of short stories include Sugar and Other Stories, The Matisse Stories, The Djinn in the Nightingale s Eye, Elementals and her most recent book Little Black Book of Stories A distinguished critic as well as a writer of fiction, A S Byatt was appointed CBE in and DBE in ATT, Dame Antonia Susan , Dame Antonia Duffy , DBE CBE FRSL Chevalier de l Ordre des Arts et des Lettres France , , writer born Aug Daughter of His Honour John Frederick Drabble, QC and late Kathleen Marie BloorByatt has famously been engaged in a long running feud with her novelist sister, Margaret Drabble, over the alleged appropriation of a family tea set in one of her novels The pair seldom see each other and each does not read the books of the otherMarriedst, , Ian Charles Rayner Byatt Sir I C R Byatt marriage dissolved one daughter one son deceased nd, , Peter John Duffy two daughtersEducationSheffield High School The Mount School, York Newnham College, Cambridge BA Hons Hon Fellow Bryn Mawr College, Philadelphia, USA Somerville College, OxfordAcademic Honours Hon Fellow, London Inst Fellow UCL, Hon DLitt Bradford, DUniv York, Durham, Nottingham, Liverpool, Portsmouth, London, Sheffield, Kent Hon LittD Cambridge, PrizesThe PEN Macmillan Silver Pen Of Fiction prize, for STILL LIFEThe Booker Prize, , for POSSESSIONIrish Times Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize, for POSSESSIONThe Eurasian section of Best Book in Commonwealth Prize, for POSSESSIONPremio Malaparte, Capri, Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, California, for THE DJINN IN THE NIGHTINGALE S EYEShakespeare Prize, Toepfer Foundation, Hamburg, Publications The Shadow of the Sun, Degrees of Freedom, reprinted as Degrees of Freedom the early novels of Iris Murdoch, The Game, Wordsworth and Coleridge in their Time, reprinted as Unruly Times Wordsworth and Coleridge in their Time, Iris Murdoch The Virgin in the Garden, GEORGE ELIOT Selected Essays, Poems and Other Writings , editor Still Life, Sugar and Other Stories, George Eliot selected essays, editor Possession a romance, Robert Browning s Dramatic Monologues, editor Passions of the Mind, essays , Angels and Insects novellae ,The Matisse Stories short stories , The Djinn in the Nightingale s Eye five fairy stories, Imagining Characters, joint editor New Writing , joint editor Babel Tower, New Writing , joint editor The Oxford Book of English Short Stories, editor Elementals Stories of fire and ice short stories , The Biographer s Tale, On Histories and Stories essays , Portraits in Fiction, The Bird Hand Book, Photographs by Victor Schrager Text By AS Byatt A Whistling Woman, Little.



10 thoughts on “Ragnarök

  1. Dolors Dolors says:

    Few epilogues have fascinated me as much as Byatt s did in this retelling ofRagnar k , the end of the world in Norse Mythology Instead of trying to attach human traits to the Norse gods to give a modern touch to the original story, Byatt remains faithful to the nature of the myth as such, allowing chaos, destruction and darkness to rule over the deeply flawed, insensitive gods.Using her own childhood memories during World War II, Byatt introduces a nameless thin child who hides away in the Few epilogues have fascinated me as much as Byatt s did in this retelling ofRagnar k , the end of the world in Norse Mythology Instead of trying to attach human traits to the Norse gods to give a modern touch to the original story, Byatt remains faithful to the nature of the myth as such, allowing chaos, destruction and darkness to rule over the deeply flawed, insensitive gods.Using her own childhood memories during World War II, Byatt introduces a nameless thin child who hides away in the pages ofAsgard and the Godsto avoid the feasible devastation that war might bring upon her life With an absent father fighting in North Africa and a distant mother devoted to academic endeavors, the thin child finds solace in the finality of this myth, in the idea that there is no new world after the Armageddon And yet her keen observations on nature and its cyclical regeneration and decay give the narration a kind of eternal recurrence.Byatt s erudition and refined intellect never ceases to amaze me Her mastery of the word, the use of language as a malleable tool to scrutinize even the most minute detail is out of this world She combines dreamlike descriptions of English prairies that read like sumptuous poetry with almost scholarly approach to existential pondering about life, death and the short sightedness of mankind when it comes to preserve the first as the precious gift it is Ragnar k , the myth that is the end of all myths, has taken a superior dimension on my mind My memory of the rugged beauty of the Icelandic landscape blends naturally with Byatt s vision of the end of the world I see the tree of life, the holyYggdrasilconsumed in flames, the world eaten raw by demonic wolves and suffocated by giant poisonous snakes I see the end of all things quite vividly, destruction embedded in the brilliance of Byatt s prose What a scary but beautiful sight The vainglorious gods defeated by their own stupidity, by their repeated inability to respect the world that gives them sustenance It all sounds too familiar to be only a myth, don t you think Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life

  2. Jaidee Jaidee says:

    5 Byatt speaks to me like nobody else stars 5th Favorite Read of 2015 Quite simplyByatt is the reason I read.She has written the unbelievable novel Possession who along with Tolstoy s Anna Karenina are my two favorite novels and I have read each of them several times throughout my life and I feel nostalgic, like I ve come home after being exiled and I can sit and commune with the wonderful characters and plots that lie therein.Ragnarok was the only Byatt I had left to read I was trep 5 Byatt speaks to me like nobody else stars 5th Favorite Read of 2015 Quite simplyByatt is the reason I read.She has written the unbelievable novel Possession who along with Tolstoy s Anna Karenina are my two favorite novels and I have read each of them several times throughout my life and I feel nostalgic, like I ve come home after being exiled and I can sit and commune with the wonderful characters and plots that lie therein.Ragnarok was the only Byatt I had left to read I was trepidatious as the novel was a short one and I thought I would be dissatisfied or sad that I would only get a taste of Byatt when I sorely wanted a feast of her prose.This book transported to a few places in my life and I will jot down just a few.1 I was and am a very introverted child that preferred my own company to carousing with other children I also hated the bright sunshine of humid Toronto summers I remember purposefully misbehaving so that I could be banished to my cool heavily curtained bedroom There I would listen to Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven and read Greek and Roman Mythology, The Secret Garden, Lives of the Saints and all of the various coloured fairy books by Lang I was in heaven.2 In the autumn of my eleventh year falling in love with a girl one year my senior and walking through High Park eating ice cream and co creating stories about princes, goblins, dragons and evil Queens I also always wanted to playact Whatever Happened to Baby Jane with Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.my favorite movie at the time a bit odd, I know 3 At the age of 16 being taken by my favorite aunt to see Wagner s Ring Cycle in its entirety Norse mythology combined with operanothing could be finer Also spending so much time with my aunt who had very little education but the most refined of taste.Byatt did all this andin this most amazing little novel The novel is the re telling of the end of the world Ragnarok in Norse mythology as seen through the eyes of a little girl during the second world war in England when she and her mother leave London to live in the countryside She infuses this book with a magic and wisdom that I cannot quite articulate in words The little girl is precocious as she is both na ve child and wise crone and this lends her to speculate on the comparison of Norse mythology with Christian faith and bible stories It also helps the little girl cope with her father fighting in the war as an air pilot.The retelling of the myth is so spectacular that it defies description Each and every sentence is so carefully crafted, so gorgeous and so laden with many meanings The stories touched not only my heart but went even deeper to my artistic soul I would close my eyes while reading this and picture, see, hear, feel, smell and touch all that was described in three dimensional glory.This book was short but packed with so much wonder that I will not hesitate in placing it in Jaidee s little temple of literary masterpieces.I will let Ms Byatt have the last say The myths were cavernous spaces lit, in extreme colors, gloomy or dazzling, with a kind of overbright transparency about them Simply Stunning

  3. Cecily Cecily says:

    This is a remarkably good book, that I somehow failed to enjoy as much as I wanted or expected, but I think the failing is mine, rather than Byatt s, and reading my notes below, I m puzzled that I liked and admired, rather than loved it all too familiar in my relationship with Byatt The thin child in wartime The child is a semi autobiographical version of Byatt herself She is given a book of Norse legends, that she treasures Those stories are retold through her eyes and thoughts, intersper This is a remarkably good book, that I somehow failed to enjoy as much as I wanted or expected, but I think the failing is mine, rather than Byatt s, and reading my notes below, I m puzzled that I liked and admired, rather than loved it all too familiar in my relationship with Byatt The thin child in wartime The child is a semi autobiographical version of Byatt herself She is given a book of Norse legends, that she treasures Those stories are retold through her eyes and thoughts, interspersed with snippets about her own life, told in a similar epic, mythical, Silmarillionish style, weaving occasional lines of liturgy and hymns into the prose as myths weave into each other and ourselves It dips in and out of myth, but the narrative pull is weak The parallels between the thin child s life and what she reads are clear Ragnarok is the end of the world, and WW2 seemed as if it would be too , but mostly subtle Layers of myth and fictionalised biographyImage Ragnar k by Collingwood Source She is a thoughtful child, with a vivid imagination and an analytical questioning mind, comparing the gods of legend with the Christian one she learns about at school and church In the story told in the stone church a grandfatherly figure who resented presumption had spent six delectable days making things. She notices that characters come in threes, that there are two ways to win battles to be surprisingly strong, or to be a gallant forlorn hope , and rules in stories exist to be broken She treats all myths, including Christianity, like fairy stories These offered the pleasure to the mind that the unreal offers when it is brieflyreal than the visible world can ever be. The only thing alive in the church is the English language She has fun with the gods quirks, especially Loki s mischievousness Chaos pleased him He would provoke turbulence to please himself and tried to understand it in order to makeof it He was in burning columns of smoke in battlefields He was in the fury of rivers bursting their banks, or the waterfalls of high tides throwing themselves over flood defences, bringing down ships and houses. The war brings intellectual conflict, as well asvisceral fears, especially for her fighting father She asked herself who were the good and wise Germans who had written Asgard and the Godsand wondered how she could trust The storytelling voice that gripped her imagination, and tactfully suggest explanations. Byatt the storytellerIf young Byatt really thought as the thin child does, it s no wonder she became a storyteller Part of the delight and mystery of this book was that everything was told several times, in different orders and in different tones of voice It is told in the present tense, a prophetic vision of the future, seen as though it was Now The think child became an onlooker in the death of the world It felt different from Christian accounts of the end of things Here the gods themselves were judged and found wanting. And to show her erudition as well as her empathy, there is an essay about mythology at the back of the book.Beauty withinThe language is is rich, vivid and beautiful, especially when describing plants, animals and water The flung snake fell through the firmament in shifting shapes her mane of fresh fronds streaming back from her sharp skull, her fangs glinting , but I expect that from Byatt It is bound, printed and laid out with a strong eye for aesthetics There are a few lovely pen and ink drawings to add to the images she conjures in the reader s mind Closing thoughtsI can t fault this at any level, other than that it disappointed me, or perhaps that my reaction disappointed me Perhaps I shouldn t try This is how myths work They are things, creatures, stories, inhabiting the mind They cannot be explained and do not explain they are neither creeds nor allegories. Byatt and biographyByatt is a novelist who loves the academic approach to biography, applied to fiction and semi fiction This passion is reflected in all four of her novels I ve now read, with varying degrees of success Less so in the short stories The Children s Book, 4 See my review HERE Possession, 3 See my review HERE The Biographer s Tale, 2 See my very old review HERE The Little Black Book Of Stories, 4 See my very old review HERE

  4. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj says:

    Ragnarok The End of The Gods A Re vieworRagnarok The Twilight of the ReaderWhile the others in the Cannongate series re imagined the stories, Byatt reread it And then told the tale of reading it Underwhelming To an extent, yes But, the Norse myths are magnificent enough to come alive of themselves even when the author decides to color them distant Byatt gives her reasoning for this approach in the end saying that she believes myths should not be humanized and the experience of imbibin Ragnarok The End of The Gods A Re vieworRagnarok The Twilight of the ReaderWhile the others in the Cannongate series re imagined the stories, Byatt reread it And then told the tale of reading it Underwhelming To an extent, yes But, the Norse myths are magnificent enough to come alive of themselves even when the author decides to color them distant Byatt gives her reasoning for this approach in the end saying that she believes myths should not be humanized and the experience of imbibing the story of a myth, of how the story permeates the life, of how myth shapes an individuals and then a society s internal life is what gives a myth its true meaning She wanted to mythologize this process of how a myth can shape a life And through her Thin Child, she might have done this to an extent, though she let me down on my expectations of a fun and thrilling adventure in the frigid, intimidating and exhilarating strangeness of the Norse landscapes

  5. Richard Derus Richard Derus says:

    Rating 1 of five p41 Airmen were the Wild Hunt They were dangerous If any hunter dismounted, he crumbled to dust, the child read It was a good story, a story with meaning, fear and danger were in it, and things out of control I have Byatted for the last time I love the Norse myths, and this precious twitzy twee retelling of them through the child s horrible little beady eyes made me want to Dickens up all over the place.I tried I really tried I read some of Possession It was lik Rating 1 of five p41 Airmen were the Wild Hunt They were dangerous If any hunter dismounted, he crumbled to dust, the child read It was a good story, a story with meaning, fear and danger were in it, and things out of control I have Byatted for the last time I love the Norse myths, and this precious twitzy twee retelling of them through the child s horrible little beady eyes made me want to Dickens up all over the place.I tried I really tried I read some of Possession It was like having an estrogen drip placed directly into my testicles I tried Angels and Insects and, horrified and repulsed, put it down as in down the crapper down even before I found out it was about brother sister incest.I think her writing is ghastly, I dislike the stories she tells, and I won t be coerced, shamed, convinced, asked, begged, guilt instilled, or required to pick up any damn thing else this Woman with a capital W writes in this incarnation

  6. Paul Paul says:

    This is in the Canongate myths series and is a retelling of the Norse myths Byatt tells them pretty straight but puts them in the context of her own childhood Ragnorak is the Norse version of Armageddon Gotterdammerung in Wagner s Ring Cycle and the retelling is very much as the original Byatt uses her experience of being evacuated to the countryside at the beginning of the war In the book the child is only known as the thin child and there is no conversation with anyone else The myth c This is in the Canongate myths series and is a retelling of the Norse myths Byatt tells them pretty straight but puts them in the context of her own childhood Ragnorak is the Norse version of Armageddon Gotterdammerung in Wagner s Ring Cycle and the retelling is very much as the original Byatt uses her experience of being evacuated to the countryside at the beginning of the war In the book the child is only known as the thin child and there is no conversation with anyone else The myth comes through the child s reading of a rather scholarly book on it The child also reads Pilgrim s Progress as well Her father is in North Africa and she is convinced he will never return This retelling has a very personal slant and a clear message If you don t get the point during the retelling of the myth there is a chapter at the end on the nature of myth and the difference between myth and fairy tales Parallels are drawn between what we are doing to our planet and the end of the gods.There is great energy and power in the writing and the prose is rich and luscious sometimes a bit too much for me It s a bit like drinking a full bottle of Cointreau trust me, don t ever do that The telling is pretty straight with Odin, Loki, Frigg, Baldur, Hel and the rest all doing their stuff Byatt contrasts the battles in the sky and the war with the doings of the gods Yggdrasil is described as an ecosystem, a doomed one given the title of the book One of the interesting points is how Byatt reacted to the myths She recognised them as myths and in her mind compared them to the stories she was told in Church which were presented as fact She came to the conclusion that these too were myths and she preferred the Norse myths because they ended with the end of the world with no happy resurrection like saving of the situation For Byatt the myths of the Norse gods are mirrored by what we are doing to our planet The surface of the earth was like a great embroidered cloth, or rich tapestry, with an intricately interwoven underside of connected threads Byatt makes her points clearly We are a species of animal which is bringing about the end of the world we were born into Not out of evil or malice, or not mainly, but because of a lop sided mixture of extraordinary cleverness, extraordinary greed, extraordinary proliferation of our own kind and a biologically built in short sightedness, And of the gods are similar to humanity because they are limited and stupid They are greedy and enjoy fighting and playing games They are cruel and enjoy hunting and jokes They know Ragnorak is coming but are incapable of imagining any way to fend it off, or change the story They know how to die gallantly but not how to make a better world Difficult to disagree with and it was good to be reminded of the Norse myths I struggled with some of the prose and if the point was to draw parallels with the current state of the planet, the way it was presented led to a bit of a disconnect for me

  7. Paltia Paltia says:

    Damn all intrusions and consider yourself fortunate to get lost in this story The thin child at war time has moved to the countryside where she learns to live in the black world of myth As a way to make sense of the events around her she turns to reading Asgard and the gods This fulfill her yearnings as she crosses over into their world and forges fantasy with her reality This book reminded me of being a child first discovering the magic of reading All those otherworldly and enchanted realm Damn all intrusions and consider yourself fortunate to get lost in this story The thin child at war time has moved to the countryside where she learns to live in the black world of myth As a way to make sense of the events around her she turns to reading Asgard and the gods This fulfill her yearnings as she crosses over into their world and forges fantasy with her reality This book reminded me of being a child first discovering the magic of reading All those otherworldly and enchanted realms were right there All one has to do is find a comfortable spot and open up a book such as this and let your imagination take over This is a truly wonderful reading experience that leaves you with much to think over A.S.Byatt has given us a relevant and elegantly expressed myth for our times Highly recommended

  8. Terence Terence says:

    Update 8 15 12 A week or so ago I listened to the Audio CD and was impressed again with just how good this book is The reader whose name I ve forgotten does an excellent job, and I gained a better understanding of what I had read from listening to it.Update 6 6 12 I found the short story I mentioned in my review below It s from an anthology titled Starlight 3 and called Wolves Till the World Goes Down, by Greg Van Eekhout view spoiler It s told from Hugin s POV Hugin is Thou Update 8 15 12 A week or so ago I listened to the Audio CD and was impressed again with just how good this book is The reader whose name I ve forgotten does an excellent job, and I gained a better understanding of what I had read from listening to it.Update 6 6 12 I found the short story I mentioned in my review below It s from an anthology titled Starlight 3 and called Wolves Till the World Goes Down, by Greg Van Eekhout view spoiler It s told from Hugin s POV Hugin is Thought, one of the ravens who are Odin s eyes and ears in the world , and recounts how Baldr plans to permanently die and, thus, break the prophecy of Ragnar k hide spoiler In Ragnar k The End of the Gods, A.S Byatt recounts the Norse myth of the end of the world, and she favors the probably pre Christian version where there s no rebirth into the Field of Ida Everything ends Forever The earth was Surtr s His flames licked the wounded branches of Yggdrasil and shrivelled the deep roots The homes of the gods fell into the lake of fire Grieving Frigg, on her gold throne, sat and waited as the flames licked her door sills and ate up the foundations of the house Unmoving, she flared, shrank black, and became ash amongst the falling ash.Deep in the kelp forests Surtr s fire boiled in the foundations of the sea The holdfast of R ndrasill ripped loose and its lovely fronds lost colour, lost life, tossed in the seething water amongst the dead creatures it had once sheltered and sustained.After a long time, the fire too died All there was was a flat surface of black liquid glinting in the small pale points of light that still came through the starholes A few gold chessmen floated and bobbed on the dark ripples pp 143 4 Unlike many authors in the Canongate Myth series, Byatt deliberately avoids recasting the myth to modernize it for her audience, giving the gods human emotions and motives, making them people like ourselves trying to get by or to make sense of the world She wants, instead, to retain the mythic quality of the story She wants Ragnar k to be unsatisfactory and tormenting Unlike the fairy story or a modern novel, the reader shouldn t contentedly close the cover satisfied that Good has triumphed over Evil and all live happily ever after A myth should leave its reader or hearer puzzled and haunted by the world it presents, and humbled by incomprehensibility p 161ff Her prose is like good poetry precise but lush and vital as in this description of J rmungandr as she grows into her full strength All this time she grew She was as long as a marching army on land She was as wide as underwater caverns, stretching away and away into the dark She spentandtime in the darkest depths, where no sunlight came, where food was sparse and strangely lit with glowing reds and cobalt blues She came across mountain ranges in the water, and belching chimneys and columns of hot gas She sipped at the blank white shrimp down there, and picked the fringed worms from their crevices Nothing saw her coming, for she was too vast for their senses to measure or expect She was the size of a chain of firepeaks her face was as large as a forest of kelp, and draped with things that clung to her fronds, skin, bones, shells, lost books and threads of snapped lines She was heavy, very heavy She crawled across beds of coral, rosy, green and gold, crushing the creatures, leaving in her wake a surface blanched, chalky, ghostly pp 71 2 Or in the description of the thin child s days in the countryside The thin child fished in the pond for tadpoles and tiddlers, of which there was an endless multitude She gathered great bunches of wild flowers, cowslips full of honey, scabious in blue cushions, dog roses, and took them home, where they did not live long, which did not concern her, for there were alwaysspringing up in their place They flourished and faded and died and always came back next spring, and always would, the thin child thought, long after she herself was dead Maybe most of all she loved the wild poppies, which made the green bank scarlet as blood She liked to pick a bud that was fat and ready to open, green lipped and hairy Then with her fingers she would prise the petal case apart, and extract the red, crumpled silk slightly damp, she thought and spread it out in the sunlight She knew in her heart she should not do this She was cutting a life short, interrupting a natural unfolding, for the pleasure of satisfied curiosity and the glimpse of the secret, scarlet, creased and frilly flower flesh Which wilted almost immediately between finger and thumb But there were always , so manyIt was all one thing, the field, the hedge, the ash tree, the tangled bank, the trodden path, the innumerable forms of life, of which the thin child, having put down her bundle and gas mask, was only one among many pp 35 6 The framework in which Byatt tells her myth is the story of a thin child in wartime It s World War 2, and families are fleeing London and other major cities in anticipation of the Blitz The thin child, an asthmatic girl whose father is away fighting, finds herself and her mother in the English countryside She spends her days wandering the countryside and reading Asgard and the Gods and Bunyan s The Pilgrim s Progress This gives Byatt the opportunity to address a remarkable thematic range, such as the need to control and order the world Odin and her father vs the darkness that lurks beyond the borders of Asgard or the walls of the garden Loki and the world outside of the city Another idea that resonated with me related to the theme of order vs chaos is the pressure to conform To choose security over risk, exemplified in what happens after the war ends and the thin child s father against all expectations comes home and the family returns to the city They went back home, the thin child and the family Home was a large grey house with a precipitous garden in the steel city, which had its own atmosphere which could be perceived as a wall of opaque sulphurous cloud, as they came in from the countryside to which they had been evacuated The thin child s lungs tightened desperately as the fog closed in on her.The long awaited return took the life out of the thin child s mother Dailiness defeated her She made herself lonely and slept in the afternoons, saying she was suffering from neuralgia and sick headaches The thin child came to identify the word housewife with the word prisoner Fear of imprisonment haunted the thin child, although she did not quite acknowledge this.But on the other side of the closed gate was the bright black world into which she had walked in the time of her evacuation The World Ash and the rainbow bridge, seeming everlasting, destroyed in a twinkling of an eye The wolf with his hackles and bloody teeth, the snake with her crown of fleshy fronds, smiling Loki with fishnet and flames, the horny ship made of dead men s nails, the Fimbulwinter and Surtr s conflagration, the black undifferentiated surface, under a black undifferentiated sky, at the end of things pp 148 54 A third, was the need to build up defenses against loss, against futility The gods huddle behind the walls of Asgard boasting of their prowess, feasting, and occasionally sallying forth to battle the monsters beyond the battlements The thin child loses herself in imagining an eternal spring of poppied meadows and singing birds.A final theme that I ll mention is the inability of gods, men or giants to conceive of any alternative to Ragnar k They the gods are human because they are limited and stupid They are greedy and enjoy fighting and playing games They are cruel and enjoy hunting and jokes They know Ragnar k is coming but are incapable of imagining any way to fend it off, or change the story They know how to die gallantly but not how to make a better world p 169 Based on my own readings in evolutionary science, history and economics, this last seems a particularly appropriate description of our own times which is as Byatt explicitly states a reason for why she wanted to write about Ragnar k in the first place There is a short story, a copy of which I know I have stored somewhere in the apartment, that I read about 12 years ago and shared with the HS English class I was teaching at the time that directly addressed this point, imagining that one of the Aesir defied Fate and did try to make a better world Unfortunately, I ve forgotten its title and author, but I ll find it and update this review when I do because it was a very good story and deservesattention.I originally gave Ragnar k The End of the Gods three stars but upon reflection and rereading at random portions of the book in the course of writing this review, I m persuaded to revise my initial reaction to four I enjoyed Byatt s writing and found a wealth of ideas to consider or digest, as I mention in one of my comments below In my case, at least, the author succeeded in leaving me puzzled and tormented but in a good way And there s muchto this slim volume than what I ve touched on here to puzzle and torment the reader, if they so wish.As the Preacher says, vanity of vanities, all is vanity, and it s all too easy to become nihilistic or apathetic But I don t think Byatt is either There is an underlying optimism that the reader can see in the quote above where she writes make a better world And I m reminded of Ursula Le Guin s image of our lives as candles that burn for a time and are then snuffed out But, oh, what we can do for that time Or Olaf Stapledon s Last and First Men Star Maker, where after a billion years of struggle and 18 separate but human species , Man s sojourn ends but Man himself, at the very least, is music, a brave theme that makes music also of its vast accompaniment, its matrix of storms and stars Man himself in his degree is eternally a beauty in the eternal form of things It is very good to have been man And so we may go forward together with laughter in our hearts, and peace, thankful for the past, and for our own courage For we shall make after all a fair conclusion to this brief music that is man p 246 With four stars, it should go without writing that I recommend this book without reservation

  9. Teresa Teresa says:

    This book would probably beinteresting to those who know nothing, or not much, of Nordic mythology Since I, as Byatt, read stories from this mythology as a child, I found myself looking for , perhaps a retelling or an allegory orof the story of the thin child, which is Byatt herself , which is exactly what Byatt says in her Thoughts on Myths at the end she didn t want to write.More than anything else, this novella is Byatt s love letter to Asgard and the Gods, and shows h This book would probably beinteresting to those who know nothing, or not much, of Nordic mythology Since I, as Byatt, read stories from this mythology as a child, I found myself looking for , perhaps a retelling or an allegory orof the story of the thin child, which is Byatt herself , which is exactly what Byatt says in her Thoughts on Myths at the end she didn t want to write.More than anything else, this novella is Byatt s love letter to Asgard and the Gods, and shows how reading and rereading it informed her vision of the world And by the very end, I decided it was an allegory of all the abundance justifying her sometimes seemingly endless lists of flora, fauna, etc that populate these pages that was once in the world and is no longer, due to the hubris of both gods and men

  10. Nicky Nicky says:

    I was hoping, when I read this Canongate retelling, for somethingalong the lines of a reinterpretation A.S Byatt s retelling is a fairly straight one, drawing together various different strands of the myth, through the eyes of a child during the war reading the myths and relating them to her life.I ve read the myths myself studied them so reading about a child reading about them didn t really work as a way to experience them for myself There is some beautiful language here, but th I was hoping, when I read this Canongate retelling, for somethingalong the lines of a reinterpretation A.S Byatt s retelling is a fairly straight one, drawing together various different strands of the myth, through the eyes of a child during the war reading the myths and relating them to her life.I ve read the myths myself studied them so reading about a child reading about them didn t really work as a way to experience them for myself There is some beautiful language here, but that was the only thing that really interested me, aside from perhaps Byatt s vision of Loki, who is a very compelling version.Otherwise, unimpressed

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