Jan. 24th, 2012

black_marya: (читаю)
Ursula K. Le Guin
... )
In her retelling, Byatt puts the story to two uses: one is to make it parallel a child's experience of war; the other, to make it a parable of the uncontrolled human behaviour that is destroying life on Earth. Though the story is powerful enough to carry a very heavy load of interpretation, this double use of it is not, I think, entirely successful.

... )
Courageously, Byatt gives us much of the Norse cosmogony in terms of what science - geology, oceanography, biology - has told us about the origins and complexity of Earth and life. Yggdrasil, the World-Tree of the myth, is shown as the growing web of life itself: a grand metaphor that reveals the richness hidden in the spare language of science. But the language of myth is also spare. Byatt expands it into torrents of lush and dazzling prose. The pace is that of film, rushing through marvels. Though I miss the austerity that leaves visualisation to the imagination of the reader, this insistent brilliance might be just the thing to catch readers used to being shown everything in colour.

To compare the doomward behaviour of the Norse gods with the dire direction of modern civilisation is almost inevitable. We are Odin who half-blinded himself to win his wisdom; we are Loki the shape-shifter and mischief-maker who does stupid things simply because he can; we are the warmakers who will never make peace, the greedy near-immortals who think they can feast off golden plates forever and never pay the price. Fenris the Wolf howls at the edge of our world, and we do not listen.Read more... )

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