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Book Review // Ragnarok by A. S. Byatt

Ragnarok by A. S. Byatt {Goodreads}
Published by Canongate Books in 2012
Paperback edition; 179 pages {BookDepository}

You go into a bookshop and pick up a book that catches your attention. You know next to nothing about it, you pick it up and read the blurb and you decide to buy it because it seems interesting enough. This is probably my favourite way of buying books but sometimes the result is not what you were expecting. Ragnarok is one of those sad cases.

A little girl is taken to the countryside during the middle of Second World War and it’s then when she is gifted with a Norse mythology book that changes her world. That’s what the blurb said anyway. And in a way, it is just that: a girl reading up the myths in the book. Period. It’s not a reimagining, or a re-telling; it’s basically a “textbook”.

The whole reading experience was very underwhelming. I could have accepted this being a simple exposition of Norse myths leading up to Ragnarok had it been written in an engaging manner. Not a chance. Boring, dull and unsubstantial; these three adjectives are the only ones I can think about to describe my feelings towards Byatt’s story. At least it was short.


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