Sunday, March 29, 2015

High -- and young -- on a Gaiman binge


        This is why I blog. (Or one of the reasons)
         I had never heard of Neil Gaiman until a few years ago when I read about him in your blogs. It must have been about the time that The Ocean at the End of the Road came out that I read reviews those reviews that enthusiastically embraced him. Then I participated in a nearby city book club meet-up and they (mostly young working people) were discussing American Gods. I was entranced but also a little estranged. I felt —serious reader that I often am (crime novels aside) dated. I thought of Gaiman as someone I would have fallen for as a younger reader—in my 20s or 30s.  Someone I could I could still get away with in my 40s, but was beginning to feel distanced from in my 50s.
          I tried him on the way I might try fake nose piercings, tattoos, mini-skirts and halter tops. Cute, but not for me – anymore.  Like too vibrant accessories, the stories clashed with my silver gray hair, my demure mature present presence. I was charmed by the playfulness and the fantasy in the way I was once taken by quirkiness of Kurt Vonnegut.
        He wrote, I thought, to a younger me.
       Ageism (self-imposed and otherwise) be damned. 
        I love this stuff. 
         I keep coming back for more. 
       Since American Gods, I have made my way through The Ocean at the End of the Road (a different kind of novel – using fantasy to create something more mainstream), Good Omens, (with the recently deceased Terry Pratchett), Neverwhere (a wonderful audiobook—full cast), The Graveyard Book (just last week) and now The Anansi Boys (one hour plus to go on audiobook and I can’t wait to finish this blog entry so I can get back to listening.)
         I have listened to more of these than I have read, using my Audible subscription, on audiobooks. Because Gaiman is first an extraordinary storyteller (and then a very good writer), listening to his works is a good choice for me. In addition I listened to Neverwhere and The Graveyard Book in full-cast productions, a treat I recommend.
          I think I am most enchanted by The Graveyard Book, though I am not quite sure why, maybe only because, fickle me,  it's the most recent one I've completed.) It’s such a classic coming-of-age story, complete with stock challenges— saying one’s true name, battling the demon and discovering the treasure—all helped out by the dead and the near-dead in a graveyard.  Brilliant. Endearing. Enchanting.
         I’m feeling like a kid again.
         No time to waste. I have reading to do. Back to the romantic comedy (all this substituting of one sibling for another reminds me of Shakespeare’s comedy tricks) The Anansi Boys.




8 comments:

  1. I've read a few Gaiman. My wife loved Anansi Boys but I haven't read that yet. My favorite probably was the first Gaiman I read: Neverwhere, but I've enjoyed all of them, to one degree or the other. If you liked The Graveyard Book, I think you might like Stardust too.

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    1. I think part of my pleasure is in the listening. There are some books which are difficult to listen to -- others so engaging.So far his fall into the later category.

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  2. American Gods is one of my favorite books of all time. I'm so glad you're enjoying his books. I agree with Bryan, you'll probably enjoy Stardust.

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    1. I have read about Stardust and think it will appeal. Will try.

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  3. And then there is his graphic novel series. Sandman, I think.

    I don't know why Gaiman doesn't click with me. He just doesn't.

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    1. Well -- I may need to progress -- or regress to an even younger self -- whichever the case may be to graphic novels.

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  4. I've also had a problem getting into Neil Gaiman, trying several things that just didn't work for me even though every one else loved them. Neverwhere was fun, though -- partly because I read it shortly before my first trip to London.

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  5. I think I just love the pure storytelling -- and the way he plays with all the minor gods -- household gods. Imagine what he might do with the gods of India!

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