Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fiction and Illusions

Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fiction and Illusions

Paperback

By (author) Neil Gaiman

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  • Publisher: HEADLINE REVIEW
  • Format: Paperback | 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 106mm x 176mm x 30mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 4 May 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 074726368X
  • ISBN 13: 9780747263685
  • Sales rank: 32,425

Product description

SMOKE AND MIRRORS will haunt your imagination and move you to the very depths of your soul. An elderly widow finds the Holy Grail beneath an old fur coat. A stray cat fights and refights a terrible nightly battle to protect his unwary adoptive family from unimaginable evil. A young couple receives a wedding gift that reveals a chilling alternative history of their marriage. These tales and much more await in this extraordinary book, revealing one of our most gifted storytellers at the height of his powers. Includes extra material exclusive to Headline Review's edition

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Author information

Neil Gaiman was born in England but now lives in Minnesota, in a big house of uncertain location where he grows exotic pumpkins and accumulates computers and cats.

Editorial reviews

A whopping collection of 30 stories, narrative poems, and unclassifiable briefer pieces from the peerlessly inventive British-born co-editor/creator of The Sandman graphic novel series and last year's terrific fantasy Neverwhere. Gaiman, who's also provided a disarmingly genial introduction, calls these tales "messages from Looking-Glass Land and pictures in shifting clouds." Though they're often derivative of both traditional folk materials and acknowledged favorite writers (such as John Collier, H.P. Lovecraft, and Michael Moorcock), the volume's numerous successes put an engaging spin on even more-than-twice-told tales. "Nicholas Was," for instance, offers in scarcely half a page a hair-raising revisionist look at the benevolent figure of Santa Claus. The poem "The White Road" deftly reimagines the English ballad about the innocent virgin fated to be sacrificed to her vulpine fiance ("Mr. Fox"). "The Daughter of Owls" is a fiendishly compact revenge tale told in the manner of ("as by") 17th-century antiquarian John Aubrey. Elsewhere, Gaiman offers amusingly lurid images of "swinging" London in the '70s ("Looking for the Girl"), Hollywood's past and present "wild days" ("The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories"), and sex in the age of AIDS (the very erotic "Tastings"). And, at his best, he makes something daringly new out of the stories we think we know best: "Baywolf" memorably combines the narrative and pictorial elements of the real Beowulf and of TV's Baywatch; "Snowglass, Apples" retells the story of Snow White from the viewpoint of the exasperated "evil queen"; and two tales ("Shoggoth's Old Peculiar" and "Only the End of the World"), set respectively in the Innsmouth of England and of New England, pay hilarious homage to Lovecraft's Ctulhu Mythos and the conventions of the classic horror film. Gaiman miscalculates only in leading off with "Chivalry," the unforgettable tale of a placid widow who discovers the Holy Grail in a secondhand shop. Nothing later on matches it in a volume that's otherwise an exhilarating display of the work of one of our most entertaining storytellers. (Kirkus Reviews)