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After having read yours and Litlove's review, I've made up my mind and decided I want to read this book.
I have ead a few Norse myths but am nowhere as familar with them as with Greek mythology but find them very fascinating. Are they darker and more violent?


I've never read Pilgrim's Progress all the way through (hides face somewhat abashed) but I love books that refer to it. Have you read John Buchan's 'Mr Standfast'? It provided a sort of role model for my youth.

Liz F

I think a read a child's version of Pilgrim's Progress when I was about 8 or 9 as it was a book that my dad very much liked and I also grew up in John Bunyan territory in Bedfordshire, but I haven't looked at it since.
I suppose i ought to at least attempt it, just like I ought to read an A S Byatt one of these days - although I'm not sure which is the more intimidating!
The Norse myths aren't entirely unknown to me (I was always rather taken with Odin's 8-legged horse!)but my knowledge of them is patchy to say the least.


Byatt's prose is definitely lush, isn't it? She rewards slow and careful reading. In spite of Loki being the one who set off events, I have a fondness for him. He reveals how absurd the gods are/ can be. I mean, standing around amusing themselves by throwing things at Baldur? Really? It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.


I think you'd like it. I want to read it again now that I have an idea of what the myth is all about. Edith Hamilton has a chapter about the Norse myths at the end of the book I'm reading, but I didn't get to it before picking up the Byatt. The myth seemed darker to me, but maybe it is due to it being about the end of the world (for the gods anyway)--also Byatt is very descriptive (much more so than Hamilton in her retellings of the stories), so it all seems so vivid!


To be honest I had heard of Pilgrim's Progress but didn't know anything about the story--had to look it up. I have only read Buchan's 39 Steps, but want to read more. Is Mr Standfast a spy novel--or in the same vein as 39 Steps?


No Pilgrim's Progress for me (and it may not happen at this point in my life, either!:) ). I feel like I should have done a little reading before picking up the Byatt--she is a very erudite writer, isn't she? I want to read her series of books starting with The Virgin in the Garden, but I am a little intimifated--keep putting it back thinking I need to do it when I know I can totally concentrate on it--but you know how I am with having several books on the go at once. I think I recall that eight-legged horse making an appearance in the story--will have to read more Norse myths eventually, too!


Yes, she is definitely a writer who demands exactly that. I think I feel comfortable now rereading the book and having more of a grasp of what's going on. I have/had too much else on my mind of late and it didn't get the attention it deserved. Loki is a god I need to read more about--he's obviously an important guy! :)


I admit it took me a while to get into this and find my bearings in it. And those Norse myths are tricky, nowhere near as clear cut as the Greek ones. It was a good choice for a group read and I've loved reading everyone's reviews!


I feel better if it took you a bit to orient yourself in the story. AS Byatt totally intrigues me. I have only read Possession years ago and I think I probably didn't take in half of what I read then. The Greek myths are so easy and straightforward in comparison, but this was probably as good an intro to Norse myths as any. I wouldn't mind rereading the book eventually. And I also enjoyed reading all the reviews and following the discussion-it was very helpful in sorting things out in my mind.

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