No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Thursday, September 08, 2011

2011/49: M is for Magic -- Neil Gaiman

"There has been a meeting of the Epicureans every month for over a hundred and fifty years [...] there is nothing left that we, or our predecessors in the club, have not eaten."
"I wish I had been here in the Twenties," said Virginia Boote, "when they legally had Man on the menu."
"Only after it had been electrocuted," said Zebediah. "Half-fried already it was [...]"
"Oh, Crusty, why must you pretend you were there? [...] You can't be more than sixty, even allowing for the ravages of time and the gutter."
"Oh, they ravage pretty good," said Zebediah T. Crawcrustle. (p. 167-8)
Short stories by Neil Gaiman, some already familiar to me ('Troll Bridge', 'How to Talk to Girls at Parties') and some that I hadn't encountered before.

What to say about this collection? It contains short stories by Gaiman, who tends to work on larger canvases. His short-form works are compact and well-rounded: at their best, typically Gaiman; at their, er, 'differently best', competent and well-written.

There are ten stories and a poem ('Instructions'), diverse in style and subject matter (and, at least to me, in quality). 'October in the Chair' reminds me, for some reason, of G K Chesterton: 'Sunbird', my favourite in this collection, feels like a homage to R A Lafferty, while 'Chivalry' is firmly in the territory of Joan Aiken and Diana Wynne Jones. And 'The Price', about a black cat and the Devil, still makes me very sad.

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