You say, “Man, that week came out a couple weeks ago and you’re just now getting around to writing a review on it? What took you so long?”
Yes, I bought it the day it came out and, yes, I’ve only just finished reading it today. And I wish that I could have stretched it out a little bit longer. I read a story or two at a time and then forced myself to close the book so that there would be some left over for the next day. I don’t usually do that.
Neil Gaiman is, as most of you know, my favorite author. I’ve been a fan since I discovered him back around 1991 when he was doing Sandman and other stuff for DC comics I reviewed his last novel here, and in the past little while I’ve been collecting the original Sandman series comics and other miscellany.
So, this is a collection of short stories, and I believe most of them have been published before in other anthologies. That was okay with me because with the exception of A Calendar of Tales,” which was released for free online a couple years ago, I hadn’t read any of them. Hey, I never said I wasn’t a lazy fan, ok?
As always, Gaiman spins yarns full of matter-of-fact magic and strangely familiar horror. His tone changes constantly. One moment you are lost wandering an ancient maze in a world that is too surreal not to exist, the next you are helping the Eleventh Doctor stop a bizarre real estate bubble from popping. There’s also a Sherlock Holmes story so astoundingly good, I imagine Gaiman found some way to channel Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. For real.
When I was a teenager, perhaps under the influence of ahem, teenagerism, I really listened to Pink Floyd for the first time. I remember it being difficult to focus on any one instrument because the sum of the whole was so seamless that what you thought was guitar revealed itself to be bass seconds later. It was so finely crafted that I couldn’t tell what was what other than the song was really, really good.
That’s what it’s like to read Gaiman fiction. You take it in as it is and it’s good in its own way. But it leaves haunting melodies that stay in your head for weeks and you can’t figure out why that one thing struck you the way it did but it’s the most honest few words you’ve ever read. Then you go back to look for that one perfect line and realize that it wasn’t just a few well-strung words. The phrase you want doesn’t exist. It was the story itself that left you with that impression.
Buy this book. Read it. And then read all the others. You won’t regret it.
If you liked this post please consider joining our email list, liking us on Facebook, or following us on Twitter and Pinterest using the various buttons scattered about the site. Also, please let us know how we’re doing by leaving a message in the comments section below.