Today I… finished this book.
I bought it last weekend in a church sale for 50p. I have previously read Possession by AS Byatt as part of my literature course (although I hated it). Ragnarok is a re-telling of ancient Norse myths about the end of the world and the end of the gods as told in an old book called Asgard and the Gods written by Dr W Wagner in 1880. ( just sourced this on Amazon for about £8 -SOLD!)
The story is set in the second world war, and told from the point of view of a young girl who has been evacuated to the country. Her father is serving in the air force overseas. She reads a translation of the German book. It is hard for her to reconcile the old Germans in the book and those who are “dealing death out of the night sky”. The narrative includes war, natural disaster, reckless gods and the destruction of life- and links the ancients myths with the turbulent setting of WW2 and indeed reflects our own world.
It is a short novel- only 171 pages and very beautifully written. I did not really know the Norse myths before reading this, being more at home with Greek and Roman mythology. As a red haired ( now blonde… OK white haired) English woman, it is likely that there may be some viking blood way back! I am interested to learn a little more about these myths and will try to follow up with some reading/ opera/ films. Today is Thor’s day (Thursday) -god of thunder, storms, strength, healing and fertility. A red-gold bearded, hammer wielding, thundering love god. Hubba hubba! I’m picturing Ewan McGregor- you make up your own fantasies!