Neil Gaiman writes smoothy, mixing mystery with whimsey. His layered works intrigue and challenge readers. If Gaiman were an actor, he would be creating characters with much the same depth and unpredictability as ...well...no names...I'm told I carry on too much about my favorite actor. But you get the idea, don't you Kemo Sabe?
Gaiman's newest book takes us back to childhood through memory. After returning home for a funeral, the narrator finds himself drawn to the house down the lane, to a place filled with warmth and magic. The only place he felt safe as a child. His thoughts immediatly explode with images of a sad and tragic situation. He seeks refuge with Lettie Hemstock and her family, and, for the most part, they protect him from his demons, both real and imagined.
This is a sad book. Mostly because of the fear and lonliness in the narrator's little boy heart. As an homage to lost childhood, it is painful. The boy lived surrounded by deception. His mother appeard to have little influence on the family. His sister berated him. His father abused him. And so the boy ran.
These memories ripple back as he sits on the bank of Hemstock's pond, the body of water he recalls as being much larger. An ocean. Don't most of us have amplified memories of our childhoods - good or bad? So, amid this fantasy, is Gaiman actually telling us to get a firm grip on reality, or is the trip back in time worth the effort in order to ground us in the present?
You know, I met Neil Gaiman at a trade show about three years ago. I was chatting with Mike Perry ( you betcha I'm name dropping) and Neil came over to check on dinner plans he had made with Mike. "Please invite me along" I begged, but my intenal voice did not resonate with them. Gaiman was soft spoken, polite and -dare I say this?- kind of boring. Later that night. he spoke at an event and had the audience rivited. I expected his persona to be more like his writing style. Can't judge by a cover, I guess.
*****By this time, you have probably all head about the movie being filmed in Manitowoc. A couple scenes were shot here last week. Facinatiung process. Perhaps I'll provide more detail next week. But, July snuck up on me, and I have end of month stuff to do.
Thanks for stopping by. (Steve and Karen, drive safely. Who goes to Arizona in July? )