Saturday, October 23, 2010
Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is awesome.
I wish I could just say that, but I really wouldn't dream of giving up that easily. Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of short stories and poems. My favorite part of the book, like with his Fragile Things, is the introduction. Gaiman actually gives a little background information behind his writing process and inspiration. Here, he includes an entire story in the intro. It's a story he planned to give to a friend as a wedding present, a story about a couple who receives a story for their wedding. Gaiman never actually gifted the story because of how depressing it turned out. Though if it had been me, I would be happy getting any present from Neil Gaiman.
Out of the stories, my favorites were "The Price, "We Can Get Them For You Wholesale," and "Snow, Glass, Apples." "The Price" is about a family who takes in any number of stray cats. One particular black cat shows up with mysterious injuries, the results of some mysterious nightly battle. "We Can Get Them For You Wholesale" tells the story of a man who decides to hire a hit man by looking under Pest Control in the phone book. It's also about the human inability to resist a good bargain. I was looking forward to reading "Snow, Glass, Apples" the most. It's Snow White from the Queen's perspective with Snow White as a blood-drinking little hussy. Snow White is terrifying, and there's all sorts of fun stuff like hearts getting cut out, incest, and a creepy pedo-prince (Just like the original fairy tale!).
Apparently, I am something of a Neil Gaiman fan girl. Though I've probably mentioned this already, I've even been to see Gaiman speak at a library event. I ran out and bought my tickets as soon as I heard of the event, though there probably wasn't ever any danger that it would sell out. I even have one of the autographed book plates they were giving out, accidentally obtained while trying to make my way through the crowd. Given all that, keep in mind that I'm not particularly subjective. Yet Smoke and Mirrors does offer a good mix of solid fiction, so even if you don't trust me, give it a chance. There may be something you like in there.