Norse Mythology (audiobook)
Standalone or series
First time reading this author?
Why I picked this
After finishing the epic A Promised Land by Barack Obama on audiobook, I wanted something shorter and lighter. Norse Mythology had been popping up on my various social media timelines with positive reviews, and when I saw Neil was also reading the audiobook that sealed the deal.
Review copy or purchase
What it’s about
Neil Gaiman retells the original Norse myths in an engaging modern style.
There’s something special about listening to an audiobook read by the author. They may not always be able to do the voices, accents or character intonation of a voice actor, but there is the joy of feeling like you’re listening to the thoughts of the imagination which created this world. Or maybe that’s just me.
Over the past week or two it’s been Neil Gaiman’s voice which has accompanied me on the dog walks as I’ve listened to Norse Mythology, his retelling of Norse myths. And, he does do the voices.
As Neil says in the prologue these aren’t the stories of the Marvel heroes, although there are echoes of them picked up by the talented comic book writers and illustrators and carried through into the movies. These are the stories of the gods. Wise Odin, strong and simple Thor, cunning and clever Loki.
I’ve never read any Norse mythology before. Beyond Thor being the god of thunder and Loki being the god of mischief, most of what I know about these legends have been through the Marvel universe. This audiobook was a wonderful way to hear these for the first time. Both the names I recognised and the ones I didn’t. Plus in the space of one week I was able to answer Norse mythology questions while watching The Chase and Richard Osman’s House of Games. I can’t remember The Chase question now, but the House of Games one was about whether cats was the answer to the question of what animal pulls Freya’s chariot. It’s a boar with golden bristles created by the dwarves and gifted to Freya. See, this is educational listening.
The stories contain the wit and wisdom of all good fables, and while the cares of the gods mean they don’t always care about the impact they have on mortals, there are moral lessons to be learned. All told in Neil Gaiman’s warmly amusing and fantastical style.