Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Short Story Monday - Smoke and Mirrors Part V


And yes....FOR THE RECORD....I do realize it is now Tuesday!! But with birthdays and work and speeding tickets, I just couldn't bring myself to post this last night!! So, as usual, I'm late. But don't they usually say, Better Late than Never?? So, here is the next to the last installment of Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors!!

Foreign Parts is a short story about venereal disease. OK. Hmmm. That sounded rather weird. And frankly, it's a rather weird story. According to the man himself, "it's mostly about loneliness and identity, and perhaps, it's about the joys of making your own way in the world." Still with me?? The story begins with Simon. A man who doesn't really have any friends in the world. No one. And he certainly isn't having sex. And yet, he comes down with a disease that is chalked up to venereal disease. How did he get it? And why does he feel like his body isn't his own anymore?? Read the story and find out!!

Vampire Sestina is just that. A sestina is a highly organized poem with 6 6-line stanzas. The same set of six words ends each of the stanzas, only in a different order. Now, I can't even write poetry that rhymes, let alone trying to write something this elaborate. But it is creepy...and it's cool!! And it's about my favorite subject....Vampires!!

Mouse is fashioned after a Raymond Chandler story....and it's about superstitions. It's a little story about a man and his wife living in New England, trying to catch a mouse in their house. But it is so much more than just that. It's about love and children and choices. This one really made me think.

The Sea Change is another poem that was once again inspired by Lisa Snellings. It's about a man that went out to sea. How the sea was a part of him. And how the sea destroyed him.

We Went to See the End of the World by Dawnie Morningside, age 11 1/4 is written in the fashion of a school report by this little girl. Her family went on a day trip to the End of the World. I'm not really sure the end of the world is a nice place to go. (and this story is amazing mostly because it really reads like something an 11-year-old would write.)

Out of all the stories I have read so far, these are probably not going to end up being my favorites. Still good. Strange, as always. But I was never really sure where they were going. And when they got there, I wasn't really sure where we were!! I'm quite sure that doesn't make any sense at all, but bear with me (I'm running on lack of sleep these days!) Regardless, they still add a lot of depth to this book. And it just proves what a great writer Neil Gaiman really is. He can take a few little words in a few short sentences and completely change the world as we know it. And that is good writing!!

Next week will be the last of Gaiman for awhile (is that a collective sigh of relief, I just heard??) My book will be finished and I will have to find some new writer to covet for a while. But I guarantee you this. I WILL come back to Gaiman again!!

11 comments:

Cath said...

We Went to See the End of the World, by Dawnie, was one of my favourites in the whole book. Which is odd because I was not too sure what it was about after I'd read it. LOL! The thing is, I was blown away by Gaiman's writing in that story, it was realistic and *funny*. Very, very clever, imo.

Chris said...

You most certainly do NOT here a collective sigh of relief from me ;) I've been enjoying your reading of Gaiman...and I do recall you signing up to read Neverwhere, so you won't be saying goodbye for long!

Stephanie said...

Cath - Out of all the stories I read this week, I liked it the best. But there were others I liked more from previous weeks. And you are right. It was very realistic. It was hard not to believe it wasn't a kid!!

Chris - Well...thank goodness!! I was afraid I was becoming boring and monotonous. You know...Neil Gaiman is great....and all that jazz!! Yes, I am reading Neverwhere...along with some of the Graphic Novel stuff. And hopefully, Good Omens as well!!

Melody said...

Yes, I have this book in my TBR pile! Now after reading your review has really made me want to read it sooner!

Well, I don't think anyone will get tired of Gaiman's books, not me definitely. And I'm sure a majority of the readers will say the same thing too. ;)

Stephanie said...

Thanks Melody!! It has been fun reading this one and reviewing it piece by piece. Just glad I'm not boring everyone!

John Mutford said...

I agree with Chris. Gaiman's become a fixture around here, and well...sniff, sniff...I'm going to miss the little bugger.

Stephanie said...

John - Ahhhh....I'm so glad he has grown on you!! Gaiman's short stories may be a thing of the past, but there are still many novels I haven't read yet!

Carl V. said...

No sighs of relief here, almost nothing gives me more pleasure than to read about people's experiences with Neil Gaiman's works, especially when it is their first time with a particular story.

Those are not among my favorites in the book, but they are well written nonetheless. If you liked Vampire Sestina, I think you'll really like the Vampire Tarot story in Fragile Things. Once you realize that each story is about vampires, they are very cool.

Stephanie said...

Carl - Oh, I knew YOU wouldn't be bored with my post!! These stories were different. Not going to be my favorites. But that doesn't mean I didn't like them!! I did read Fragile Things and thought Vampire Tarot was really cool. With this one, I was thoroughly impressed with the whole idea of a sestina and the way it is set up.

Trish said...

Isn't it great finding a gem. I'm sorry for you that it will be over--maybe give it a few years and then read the anthology again. :)

Debi said...

Oh, no sighs of relief here...I've enjoyed every one of your short story posts! And I feel so lucky that I've got all Gaiman's short stories ahead of me! I swear, every single time I read one of your short story posts, I get all excited to dive into some short stories myself, but somehow I never seem to get to any :(