I read Norse Mythology after reading Kafka’s The Trial. It was like having an After 8 after eating a heavy main course. It was like a breath of fresh air.
This is my third Neil Gaiman book after Good Omens and The Graveyard book, and what keeps bringing me back is the simplicity of his stories. He balances the book perfectly between good writing and good story telling. If any other author had written Norse Mythology I would have probably found it boring. Since to me, most of the tales sounded pretty ridiculous, but it was Gaiman’s narration that turned the ridiculousness into good solid humour.
‘Odin blew some of the mead out of his behind, a splattery wet fart of foul-smelling mead right in Suttung’s face blinding the giant’
‘No one, then or now, wanted to drink the mead that came out of Odin’s arse. But whenever you hear poets declaiming their bad poetry, filled with foolish rhymes, you will know which of the meads they have tasted’
But what I really liked about this book, is that it brought the fairy tales back to me. Someone just revived the magical old tales told by the warmth of crackling fires or snug in a bed for story time. when stories began like:
‘In the land where stories were first told, during the long winter nights perhaps, under the glow of the Northern Lights, or sitting outside in the small hours, awake in the unending daylight of midsummer’
The stories with cunning dwarfs melting gold under mountains, the dark elves that brewed the mead of poetry, the great serpents of dark waters, and the great majestic halls of frost giants. Doesn’t the sound of all this send your imagination soring? Doesn’t it revive the child inside you, ready to step foot in those magical faraway lands all over again?