cover image The Gospel of Loki

The Gospel of Loki

Joanne M. Harris. S&S/Saga, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4946-5

Harris (Chocolat) reinterprets the Norse Völuspá (which she incorporates into her story as “The Prophecy of the Oracle”) from the point of view of Loki, evoking the voice of a narcissistic celebrity memoir while retaining a timeless folktale aesthetic. Loki emerges as Wildfire from the realm of Chaos to rescue, trick, and infuriate Odin and the inhabitants of Asgard. The troublemaker antihero narrates the personality flaws of the gods, gives post-facto justifications for his own actions, and admonishes the reader to “never trust anyone.” But underneath the braggadocio and wit runs a story with psychological meat, that of the permanent outsider craving the comfort of approval, seeking revenge on those who disrespect him, and trying to save his own skin as he ponders the relationships among free will, forced obligations, and the inevitable. Those familiar with the traditional stories will find Harris’s approach knowledgeable and respectful but fresh enough to be much more than a modernized retelling, while readers without the background will find this version of Loki an easy enough storyteller to follow for the first time. (May)