Jul 28, 2008

Just Read: Smoke and Mirrors


I first heard of Neil Gaiman almost ten years ago, through the music of Tori Amos.
“Me and Neil'll be hangin' out with the dream king...”
“Get me Neil on the line, no I can't hold. Have him read Snow, Glass, Apples...”
“Will you find me if Neil makes me a tree...”
...And so on. There are numerous references to a certain Neil in Tori's lyrics, and all I knew at the time was that he is her friend and a writer. About a year ago, long after I'd lost interest in Tori, I was in the library and I accidentally came across a little book called Stardust, written by Neil Gaiman. I thought his name sounded familiar, but I couldn't for the life of me remember where I'd heard it before. The book looked sweet though, so I read it. That's how my love affair with Neil's work began. Well, I've now read all of Neil's novels, nut I still have a bunch of short stories and graphic novels left.
Smoke and Mirrors is a short story and poem collection, first published in 1998. The stories belong to a mixture of genres – fantasy, science fiction, horror, even a couple that qualify as erotica, and they contain plenty of references to folklore, literature and popular culture.
The stories are diverse and all are unputdownable. Neil comes up with some pretty insane ideas – most notable of which must be the retelling of Beowulf as a Baywatch episode and the morbidly funny tale about an agency of assassins who offer discounts for large orders.
The collection ends with the wonderfully dark Snow, Glass, Apples, a new version of Snow White told from a different point of view, with all the traditional roles reversed.
Anyway, my verdict is, that, while I'm always more inclined to read a novel, Smoke and Mirrors WAS worth reading, and quite an enjoyable way of passing time until Neil's next title, The Graveyard Book, comes out this September. And if you've never read Gaiman, well shame on you! Run to the nearest bookstore, get American Gods and start reading asap!

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1 comment:

aioseh said...

this sounds intriguing. thanks for the recommendation!