Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

"Trigger Warning" by Neil Gaiman (Headline, 2015)

It begins with an introduction to each of the pieces. I liked "The Truth is a cave in the Black Mountains", "Black Dog", and some others too, to a lesser extent - "Orange", "Feminine Endings", "The Thing About Cassandra. I didn't see anything in "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury", "Click-Clack the Rattlebag", many of the parts of "A Calendar of Tales", or the poems. There's a Sherlock Holmes piece, and a Dr Who story. He's an able re-user of standard (fairy tale) plots, and uses the standard accessories (caves, burning papers, etc) in newer contexts. I'm surprised that "Adventure Story" got into McSweeney's.

Other reviews

  • Edward Docx (Guardian) (Indeed, there is so much that is clever and skilful in among the embarrassments that by the end I was reminded of Paul McCartney, another copiously talented artist, who seems to have no sense of which of his works are breathtakingly good and which breathtakingly bad.)
  • Andrew O'Hehir (New York Times) (Like so much of Gaiman’s fiction, it is a story of love and loss and cultural memory and the hidden connections between unremembered things, and also a story about the importance of stories ... He’s like a conjurer who shows us how the magic trick is worked, joins us in laughing at its transparency and simplicity, and makes us believe in it anyway.)
  • Jason Sheehan (NPR)
  • James Lovegrove (Financial Times) (In truth, there’s nothing much in Trigger Warning to frighten the horses. Gaiman has a penchant for dark themes but his authorial voice is too benign overall, too fundamentally genial, for the darkness to rise up and become overwhelming. ... a mixed bag, as the author himself admits in the introduction. It fails to meet his own criteria for a short story collection)
  • Mahvesh Murad (The most emotional and heartfelt of the stories in Trigger Warning is probaly ‘The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury’. Not just is it what Gaiman called a ‘love letter’ to one of the most celebrated of 20th century writers Ray Bradbury, but it is also a sensitive portrayal of ageing, memory loss and eventually loneliness)
  • Frank Cottrell Boyce (New Statesman) (There are tales in this collection that are as pure and perfect as anything you’ll ever read. “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” is a sly gem of a ghost story. “The Sleeper and the Spindle” is a dark, witty inversion of “Sleeping Beauty”; “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains”, in which a mysterious stranger enlists a guide to take him to a cave full of cursed treasure somewhere in the Highlands, is a masterpiece that could have been written by Stevenson.)
  • Terence Rafferty (Slate) (Impressive as his range of styles is, this new collection feels, from time to time, arbitrary — as if this talented writer were simply doing exercises, to no particular purpose. ... After a while, though, the offhand virtuosity of Trigger Warning can begin to feel like too much of a good thing ... The novella “Black Dog,” which ends the book, is a lovely piece of high-English horror fiction)
  • Roisin O'Connor (The Independent)

No comments:

Post a Comment