Chocolat has been on my Amazon wishlist for some considerable time now. For some reason, whenever anybody buys me a book as a gift, they always assume that Chocolat somehow made its way onto there by mistake. “Surely, it is a woman’s book?” I often get asked. To be fair, I assume that many of the book’s readers are women. That isn’t to say that men haven’t read it. Or enjoyed it for that matter. I’m a firm believer in having a wide reading circle – it helps as a writer as my mind is more informed, both in interest and research. I have seen the film, which inevitably forced me to add the book to that said wishlist. I have to say though, that when Amazon sent me an email recommending this fine looking title, I was instantly drawn in.
Some of you may know that I have a huge interest in Ancient Civilisations and Mythology. In fact, my YA fantasy novel, The Black Petal combines both Greek and Norse mythology. You can read more about that here. Well Loki is one Norse god who has always caught my attention; often labeled as the ‘Trickster’ god. He was certainly a mischievous figure, one who is the perfect character to centre a new book around.
I was slightly curious about Joanne Harris’s turn to fantasy, but after doing a little research, I found that The Gospel of Loki is not in fact her first fantasy title. She has many novels to her name, which just goes to show how authors can be associated with only one book for the rest of their careers. I can’t seem to find a lengthy blurb for this, but here’s a short one to whet your appetite:
The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods – retold from the point of view of the world’s ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki’s recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her life-long passion for the Norse myths, Joanne Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel.
I find the notion of writing from the perspective of Loki is both an interesting and brave thing to do. I certainly wouldn’t have dared, but I think an established author such as Joanne, would be able to do the god justice. There has been a few retellings as such of the Norse gods, most recently A. S Byatt’s Ragnarok: the End of the Gods which I found a little disappointing. You can read my review of that here.
I’m really looking forward to this title as only a few close friends know that when I begin writing book#2 to The Black Petal Trilogy, Loki will in fact feature quite a lot. It’ll be interesting to compare both Joanne’s and my interpretation of the Trickster god.
After looking through Joanne Harris’s website, I’ve found she has provided an extract free to read, which you can do here. (This extract links directly to Joanne’s webpage.)
The Gospel of Loki is published Feb 13th by Gollancz
About Joanne Harris:
Joanne Harris (MBE) was born in Barnsley in 1964, of a French mother and an English father. She studied Modern and Mediaeval Languages at Cambridge and was a teacher for fifteen years, during which time she published three novels, including Chocolat (1999), which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.
Since then, she has written eleven more novels, two collections of short stories and two cookbooks . Her books are now published in over 50 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, has honorary doctorates in literature from the universities of Sheffield and Huddersfield, and has been a judge for the Whitbread Prize, the Orange Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science.
Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as: “mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion of the system”, although she also enjoys obfuscation, sleaze, rebellion, witchcraft, armed robbery, tea and biscuits. She is not above bribery and would not necessarily refuse an offer involving exotic travel or pink champagne. She works from a shed in her garden, plays bass in the band she first joined when she was 16, is writing a novella for Dr Who and lives with her husband and daughter in a little wood in Yorkshire.
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