Smoke and Mirrors

Author: Neil Gaiman

Type: Fiction, short stories

Full title: Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions

Published: 1998

I read it: March 2013

smoke and mirrors

This book had haunted my shelves under the Borrowed & Unread category for a few years, so I finally gave in to its haunting tales. It was not unlike Fragile Things in its array of short stories, long poems, and heavy display of the supernatural. Both books feature lengthy introductions that segue into explanations or commentary on the stories themselves (I just get a kick how these are placed at the front of the books). There are a few really enjoyable stories in Smoke and Mirrors, from the whimsical “Chivalry” to the dramatic “Troll Bridge;” plenty of vampires, werewolves, and other creatures; re-tellings of familiar fairy tales such as “Snow, Glass, Apples;” and even some stories that dabble in the erotic. A particular favorite is a 100-word piece about St. Nick’s slave role to help elves fulfill their yearly duties. The collection is quite uneven, as many of these stories appeared in all sorts of previous places, or were the type that Gaiman himself was not quite sure would ever see the light of day. So although I cannot recommend diving in (unless you are a big fan already), it is a nice little collection to have sitting around in the dead of winter, or during Halloween season.

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