In this brilliant retelling of the Norse myth about the end of the world, the award-winning author of Possession and The Children’s Book unleashes a story of the destruction of life on this planet and the end of the gods themselves.
As the bombs of the Blitz rain down on Britain, one young girl is evacuated to the countryside. She is struggling to make sense of her new life, whose dark, war-ravaged days feel very removed from the peace and love being preached in church and at school. Then she is given a copy of Asgard and the Gods — a book of ancient Norse myths — and her inner and outer worlds are transformed. She feels an instant kinship with these vivid, beautiful, terrifying tales of the end of the gods — they seem far more real, far more familiar during these precarious days.
How could this child know that fifty years on, many of the birds and flowers she took for granted on her walks to school would become extinct? War, natural disaster, reckless gods, and the recognition of impermanence in the world are just some of the threads that Byatt weaves into this most timely of books. Linguistically stunning and imaginatively abundant, Ragnarok is a landmark piece of storytelling from “one of the most brilliant minds and speakers of our generation” (The Independent). Just as Wagner used this dramatic and catastrophic struggle for the climax of his Ring Cycle, so A. S. Byatt now reinvents it in all its intensity and glory.
Praise for the narration of Ragarok by A.S. Byatt, performed by Harriet Walter:
“Narrator Harriet Walter is a superb oracle, telling the ancient tales of conflicts and feuds in dazzling description through the eyes of a young girl absorbed by her book of myths. Byatt reinterprets the prediction of Ragnarok, or doom of the gods, and Walter delivers every terrible moment....The sensual imagery — color, texture, sound — comes through in this vibrant telling. A listening spectacular.” Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine