Ragnarok : The Myths

  • by A. S. Byatt
  • Narrated by Harriet Walter
  • Series: The Myths
  • 3 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

“Color and sensation flood Byatt’s writing . . . One of the most brilliant minds and speakers of our generation.” (Independent)
“Majestic . . . Dazzling . . . Wonderful . . . . What you see here . . . is the strength and fire of Byatt’s imagination.” (The San Francisco Chronicle)
“Bristling with life and invention. . . . A seductive work by an extraordinarily gifted writer.” (The Washington Post)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What a great listen!

Would you consider the audio edition of Ragnarok to be better than the print version?

Both were excellent. The language is very rich. I enjoyed going back and forth between the two versions.


What did you like best about this story?

I loved the way Byatt incorporated her growing up with the myths into the book. This added a whole new dimension that I wasn't expecting.


Have you listened to any of Harriet Walter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Walter was a new reader for me. Where has she been hiding? She was great. I just bought her version of Mansfield Park. I wish she had a bigger list of books. I hope to hear much more from her. She added tremendously to this audio.


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- Gary

loved it

A. S. Byatt is an excellent writer and I thoroughly enjoyed this. I like Norse myth anyway and thought it would be weaved into a modern story of some type, allegorically/symbolically etc. but was very pleased to hear a retelling of Norse myth, specially centered upon Loki and Ragnarok. I hope some day there will be some audio geared completely at Norse Myth but for now this is excellent. Byatt is stylistically very nice and the narrator nails the names and voice. I remember there was some Norse references in Possession which is a beautiful novel. I have read/listened to several Byatt, Possession, the Game, Matisse, Djinn and enjoy them all. very nice author, Possession being one of the best books I've read, and I look forward to listening to this again as well.
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- Darryl

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-07-2012
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio