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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology (edition 2017)

by Neil Gaiman (Author)

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2,6501143,229 (4.05)151
Title:Norse Mythology
Authors:Neil Gaiman (Author)
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2017), Edition: 01, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (Author)

  1. 60
    The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: The Edda feels like the primary source material for Gaiman's retelling
  2. 20
    Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton (LamontCranston)
  3. 00
    Expecting Someone Taller by Tom Holt (themulhern)
    themulhern: The one is a fine retelling of Norse mythology, the other is humorous fantasy based on Norse mythology. So they compliment each other nicely. And both are written rather cleverly.

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Neil Gaiman says he first encountered the Norse myths in the pages of Marvel Comics. I first encountered the Norse Myths in the pages of school textbooks. I later discovered livelier versions, and he later discovered more complete versions, truer to the original sources.

One important difference is that Gaiman is an excellent writer, and he became interested in researching the myths and presenting them to new generations in a form both true to the sources and engaging for modern readers.

Or, in this case, as is most appropriate for ancient myths, listeners.

In his introduction, he discusses what we do, and tantalizingly, what we don't know, about the Norse gods. We know Odin and Thor and Loki, the Norns and the giants, and others, but there are also gods for whom only and some bare details remain, with no surviving stories to retell.

Both his words and his reading of them breathe life into the stories we have. None of the Norse gods are simple and straightforward evocations of merely a few traits, nor are they what we'd consider fully rounded characters. They are, nevertheless, compelling, especially with Gaiman, an excellent oral storyteller as well as an excellent writer, reading his own retellings of their tales.

It's a very good few hours' listening.


I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
I love listening to Neil Gaiman narrate his own books. He's such a wonderful storyteller both verbally and in writing. I'd purchased a hardcover copy of this book when a friend was reading it and posting quotes. I ended up getting the audiobook from the library so The Hubster and I could listen to it on our Labor Day Weekend road trip.

I'm glad I have the print copy, though. I needed to reread the first section about the beginnings of the worlds because it was slightly hard to follow just listening to it. After that, however the book is a series of stories and very easy to follow by listening.

I had only a passing familiarity with the Norse myths and I learned a lot while being completely entertained by Neil Gaiman telling me stories. His retelling of the myths was wonderful road trip listening.

There was a lot of humor in this book:

“’Because,’ said Thor, ‘when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.’”

“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 he went to ask Loki for advice.”

“I am grim of mind and wrathful of spirit and I have no desire to be nice to anyone,”

There was also plenty of less funny things in this book too. There was lots of killing and Loki's punishment is a bit gross but that's the way the myth goes.

It was a good retelling of these myths and one I'd recommend. If you do the audio format pay close attention to the first couple of chapters or do what I did and reread that part in print. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Sep 12, 2018 |
I have always loved the Norse myths, much more than their Greek counterparts; who knows why. The big d'Aulaire picture book of Norse Myths & Legends was one of my prized possessions as a youngster.

These retellings are, as one might expect, quite good. Gaiman is very good at his craft, and clearly loves the material. There's a certain amount of "quippy" dialogue that makes me think of the way these characters have been portrayed in the Marvel movies lately, but it's only a little distracting and probably more or less accidental.

Definitely recommended. ( )
  dmmjlllt | Sep 7, 2018 |
As a young child a had a fascination with mythology and read the tales of gods and heroes from many cultures. I always found the Norse myths a little complicated compared with, say, the Greek. However if I'd started with this book I think I may have persevered longer as Gaiman has applied his wonderful writing style to age old tales and the result is magic.
It takes a while to get into the rhythm of the writing and it is possible that if I had experienced the audio book I may realise that, as in the original sagas, these are tales to be told, not read. What remains is funny and clever stories in which the gods do not always triumph. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Sep 4, 2018 |
I love Neil Gaiman, and I like reading myths and legends, so I enjoyed this book a lot. It is a fairly straight, reworded retelling of much of the Snorri Edda, adding some detail from the Poetic Edda in places. Gaiman adds fine details, and a tongue-in-cheek view of the gods, but never overdoing things - it would be easy to make fun of Thor, Loki, the giants … all the time, but he does it in places, and in a very low-key (hah!) way.

Owing to the fact that Neil Gaiman did not add too much of his own voice to those stories (which is a decision I greatly appreciate!), the book does feel like "just" a good collection of Norse myths. Which it is, and which it wants to be, so 5/5 stars for fulfilling its purpose - it's just not a five star book for me, but I will treasure it as my reference manual to Norse Mythology. ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, NeilAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckley, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garceau, PeteCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weber, SamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Welch, ChrisDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Many gods and goddesses are named in Norse mythology.
Introduction: It's as hard to have a favorite sequence of myths as it is to have a favorite style of cooking(some nights you might want Thai food, some nights sushi, other nights you crave the plain home cooking you grew up on). (Introduction)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 039360909X, Hardcover)

Introducing an instant classic―master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 30 Jun 2016 12:25:29 -0400)

An introduction to Norse mythology.

(summary from another edition)

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