Smoke and Mirrors

This is another book I read while we were on vacation: Smoke and Mirrors, a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman.

You’ve probably read something or other by Neil Gaiman, haven’t you? Pretty much everyone has. I myself have read The Graveyard Book, Coraline, and American Gods. And now this. And I have to say, I’m starting to think Gaiman is a one-trick pony. Nothing wrong with that, though, if you like the one trick. Gaiman’s one trick is crazy-beautiful prose and fairy tale/mythical elements turned upside down. I like those things. I could happily read one of his books every 5 years. But a whole collection of his short stories over a two-day period is too much. This would be better kept in the bathroom, if you know what I mean.

That said, my favorite story was “Murder Mysteries.” It features actual Old Testament angels, you know, with names ending in el. I am a sucker for Old Testament angels. Cf. Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle. And the setting is hard-boiled noir, for which I am also a sucker. Cf. anything by James M. Cain.

There were some other cool stories in this collection too. There is also some poetry that will stick with you for a while. There’s also some extremely explicit sex, so if you wanted to read a book with your kid this might not be the best choice.

So… yeah. Here’s my final recommendation: if you’re a Neil Gaiman fan, you’ll like it. If you don’t know whether or not you’re a Neil Gaiman fan, it’s definitely worth trying. If you already know that you don’t like Neil Gaiman, skip this one.

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  1. I love Gaiman’s books for children, but not so much the adult stories. Just too much, like you said. I have not tried American Gods, though. Maybe soon….

  2. I actually really liked American Gods. I also really liked The Graveyard Book. Coraline, on the other hand, I thought was awful.


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