Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The New Yorker Hearts Neil Gaiman

I rarely read the New Yorker. It's just not my style. But this morning I couldn't overlook this intriguing article about Neil Gaiman--"Kid Goth: Neil Gaiman’s fantasies"--by Dana Goodyear:
Gothic horror was thoroughly out of fashion in children’s literature when, in the early nineteen-nineties, the writer Neil Gaiman began to work on “Coraline,” a book aimed at “middle readers”—aged nine to twelve—in which he reimagined Clifford’s demon as “the other mother,” an evil and cunning anti-creator who threatens to destroy his young protagonist. “The idea was, look, if the Victorians can do something that deeply unsettles kids, I should be able to do that, too,” he told me recently.

Gaiman, who is forty-nine and English, with a pale face and a wild, corkscrewed mop of black-and-gray hair, is unusually prolific. In addition to horror, he writes fantasy, fairy tales, science fiction, and apocalyptic romps, in the form of novels, comics, picture books, short stories, poems, and screenplays. Now and then, he writes a song. Gaiman’s books are genre pieces that refuse to remain true to their genres, and his audience is broader than any purist’s: he defines his readership as “bipeds.” His mode is syncretic, with sources ranging from English folktales to glam rock and the Midrash, and enchantment is his major theme: life as we know it, only prone to visitations by Norse gods, trolls, Arthurian knights, and kindergarten-age zombies. “Neil’s writing is kind of fey in the best sense of the word,” the comic-book writer Alan Moore told me. “His best effects come out of people or characters or situations in the real world being starkly juxtaposed with this misty fantasy world.” The model for Gaiman’s eclecticism is G. K. Chesterton; his work, Gaiman says, “left me with an idea of London as this wonderful, mythical, magical place, which became the way I saw the world.” Chesterton’s career also serves as a warning. “He would have been a better writer if he’d written less,” Gaiman says. “There’s always that fear of writing too much if you’re a reasonably facile writer, and I’m a reasonably facile writer.”

Read the entire article HERE

I've only read one of Gaiman's books--The Graveyard Book (which was reviewed HERE)--but I liked his style and am planning to read one of his adult novels one of these days. If anyone has any recommendations as to which to check out first, I'd be much obliged! :)


  1. I recommend Smoke and Mirrors, a collection of deliciously creepy short stories. I also loved American Gods and Anansi Boys but Mike hated them, so there you go.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions, Rachel! I've heard good things about AMERICAN GODS but the other two are new to me. I'll def look into them :)

  3. Seriously go to the Graphic Novels section and pick up Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes. It is the BEST.

  4. Yes! I've heard good things about SANDMAN too! And am much more open to it now that I've read a few graphic novels (Fables--reviewed on 11/19/09).

    Another great suggestion, thank you!