Saturday, April 11, 2015

Trigger Warning

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and DisturbancesTrigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh, Neil. How do you do it? How do you manage to write such amazing stories? Stories full of magic, full of emotion, full of truth. Stories that make you laugh, make you cringe, make you feel. As an aspiring writer myself, when I read your stories I despair - how can I ever hope to write even half was well as you do?

The stories and poems in this collection were almost all previously published. Some I had read before. One, "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains" was even published as an illustrated book. But even the ones I had read before were worth reading again. That's the thing about Gaiman - his works are so multi-layered that upon each rereading you will find something new, something that catches you out, that you didn't notice before.

As in every collection, readers will find stories that resonate with them more than others. For me, these were the highlights:
"The Thing About Cassandra" - Quintessential Gaiman. It's all about the power of words to create.
"Down to a Sunless Sea" - Another quintessential Gaiman story. It's a bit creepy, and full of wonderful prose and imagery. Also kind of melancholic.
"Orange" - A delightfully humorous story, told as only the responses to an investigator's questions. A bit cheeky, but it works.
"The Case of Death and Honey" - Did you ever wonder why Sherlock Holmes got into beekeeping after retiring? This story provides the answer.
"An Invocation of Incuriosity" - Another vintage Gaiman story. Wryly humorous, with not a word out of place.
"And Weep, Like Alexander" - See previous.
"Nothing O'Clock" - A wonderful Dr. Who romp, that even non-Whovians will enjoy.
"Black Dog" - A creepy story. The further adventures of Shadow, the protagonist from American Gods. Gaiman at his best.

The stories and poems not listed were all still wonderfully written, and full of imagination and originality. They just didn't quite hit home for me. Nevertheless, they are all worth reading (and rereading).


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