cover image The Downfall of the Gods : Ragnarok

The Downfall of the Gods : Ragnarok

Villy Sorensen. University of Nebraska Press, $17.95 (123pp) ISBN 978-0-8032-4201-2

The familiar Norse gods who figure in this lively reworking of the classic Edda, include Odin, the oldest, and the chief; Freyja, goddess of love; Thor and Tyr, gods of war; and the interloper, mischievous, shape-changing Loki. Squabbling among themselves as they plan and wage their ongoing battle with the frost giants of Utgard (the far reaches of the world), they consider their relationship with humans (who is protecting whom?) and try to stay one step ahead of Ragnarok --chaos time, the end of the world, their downfall. In an afterword, the author compares the continuing struggle between the gods and giants to the human conflict between power and love. Finding the gods' stories surprisingly topical, he observes that his revisionist interpretation was protested by some who decried its focus on Ragnorak rather than Gimle , the new world that follows the gods' demise. He explains, ``Myths are true at any time, but in every age their truth has to be interpreted and reassimilated.'' As his allegorical rendering demonstrates, the gods have much to tell us about ourselves, our fate detailed in timeless, imaginative narrative. (May)