Neil Gaiman

This is a bit different than my other posts, as I am reviewing an author not a book. This is because Mr Neil Gaiman is quite different; to talk about his work is to talk about him. Let me explain.

Whenever I read something of his, I feel cheated. His writing has all the elements I require to be happy with a book. I mean he should be my favourite author: he writes dark tales, which I absolutely love, he has amazingly original ideas, he belongs in the fantasy scope of stories. But, but, but I feel something is missing.

I went to watch the Coraline movie and was amazed by the magic, the colour, the elongated subtle terror, the idea of the other mother. Talk about nightmares, huh? When I watched it I didn’t know it was based on a novel by Neil, I just knew the director – Henry Selick. Delighted, I discovered the book in the bookstore where I was working and immediately started reading it. That was a really weird experience for me, because I usually do it the other way round. I only watch the movie before, if I don’t intend to ever read the book. Well, it wasn’t quite as magical as the movie. I felt let down.

I read The Graveyard Book, American Gods, The Wolves in the Walls, Smoke and Mirrors, Good Omens (co-authored by the amazing Terry Prachett), Stardust, the first two volumes of Sandman – Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll’s House -, Death: The Time of your Life, Harlequin Valentine (ok, this one I Loved!), The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish.

That’s quite a lot for an author whose books I don’t care for all that much. But I am fascinated by him. He has an amazing extrovert public persona; he seems so accessible and in sync with his readers. I love the fact that he is a beekeeper (don’t ask me why, I don’t really like them). His voice is extraordinary, I cannot get enough of him talking and reading.

So what about his books? Well, American Gods seemed to me that it was too long. I would prefer to read the edited version. I believe there was a reason behind his editor’s premise to shorten it. It was a pleasant read, but it didn’t excite me!

I really enjoyed the Sandman volumes but, again, nothing to make me wanna keep going. Well, Dream is awesome – he reminds me a bit of Elric, my big true love of my teens. And Death of course, who I also liked in her own story.

The Harlequin Valentine was absolutely amazing. This is the one work that made me want to plunge in its depths and never leave again.

I didn’t hate any of them. But something is missing. Maybe it’s missing from me, and not his writing. I really don’t know. I’m really baffled by the fact that my favourite author doesn’t write books that move me. That’s why I keep persisting. I keep on reading his stories. There has to be a broken link; and I want to fix it.

I would love some thoughts on this topic. Let me know if this ever happened to you.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. anastase says:

    For me Neil Gaiman is a perpetual source of frustration. Whenever I read a story in general I wonder: how would I write this story? Would I have had this idea? Reading his stories feels like a deja-vu, like he stole part of my dreams but did not do them complete justice. Yet strive as I might I find no better way to write these stories. Concept-wise he is very very good. That is the reason I prefer his shorter works, like fragile things, which happens to be my favorite collection of short stories from Neil Gaiman (although it overlaps with smoke and mirrors a bit).

    Have you tried Nevermore and the graveyard book yet?


  2. That dog is weird.And scary.


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