"In fairy stories - if you accept the bloody violence, and the horrible things that happen to the bad characters - the point is a pleasurable and satisfactory foreseen outcome, where the good survive and multiply and the bad are punished...," A. S. Byatt writes in her afterword to her retelling of the Norse myth of Ragnarök, explaining why her childhood self responded so strongly to this myth. "Myths are often unsatisfactory, even tormenting... The fairy stories were in my head like little bright necklaces of intricately carved stones and wood and enamels. The myths were cavernous spaces, lit in extreme colours, gloomy, or dazzling, with a kind of cloudy thickness and a kind of overbright transparency about them."
Certainly the Norse myths as Byatt retells them here feel both cavernous and bright, gloomy and dazzling, populated with wildly imaginative creatures, dark plots, and ...
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