read_warbler (read_warbler) wrote,

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

So far the only books I've read by Neil Gaiman are Stardust and Good Omens, penned with Terry Pratchett of course. I liked both of those and I liked this anthology as well but I'm still not certain if I would like his other books such as Anansi Boys, American Gods and Neverwhere. Just not certain that they would be my sort of thing. My husband recently read Neverwhere and didn't rate it much... mind, we don't always agree on books so that doesn't mean a lot. *g*

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Anyway - Smoke and Mirror. A good antholgy. I didn't like all of the stories but then when do you ever? I think I would say the best story is 'Chivalry', a story about an oap who buys The Holy Grail in a charity shop. This one is beautifully observed, imo. But there is plenty more to enjoy. I also liked 'The Price' very much indeed - a story of a cat taken in as a stray but who is getting into terrible fights during the night. Its owner keeps him in for four nights to recover and finds the family have terrible luck during those four days and nights... 'Troll Bridge' was also very good. It tells what happens when a boy goes for a very long walk along an abandoned railway track and eventually comes to a bridge. He makes a bargain there that he will revisit many times during his life. Atmospheric and intriguing that one. 'One Life Furnished in Early Moorcock' I liked a lot too. Unless I'm mistaken this isn't really a sci fi story at all but I liked it all the same. It's just a story about a boy's school days and his love of Michael Moorcock's 'Elric' fantasy stories. It was delightful and slightly autobiographical I gather. Other stories of note, Looking For the Girl, When We Went to see the End of the World By Dawnie (charmingly written as a child would write), We Can Get Them For You Wholesale and Snow, Glass, Apples (for those who think they know the story of Snow White and The Seven Dwarves ;-)). In fact, there were only a few in the whole book that I didn't care for.

This book has reminded me of how much I like short story anthologies. I used to read them a *lot* but hardly at all these days, and that's a shame so will try to put that right. The only word of warning I would add is that I know there are folks out there who don't care for a lot of sexual content and a couple of the stories are quite explicit, or are of the type where the author calls a 'spade a spade' if you get my drift. But if that's okay with you then you should enjoy this anthology.
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