Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions

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9780060934705: Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions

In Neil Gaiman's richly imagined fiction, anything is possible. And the proof is in the telling in this extraordinary collection of short stories. Discover within these pages miraculous inventions and curious characters: an elderly widow who finds the Holy Grail tucked beneath an old fur coat in a thrift store, a terrified boy who barters for his life with a mean-spirited troll living beneath a bridge by the railroad tracks, a young couple who receives a wedding gift that gradually reveals a chilling alternative history of their marriage. Smoke and Mirrors will dazzle your senses, touch your heart -- and haunt your dreams.

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Review:

This anthology of short stories, and the occasional story poem, is vintage Neil Gaiman: quirky, sometimes very funny, often dark and disturbing. Most have been published before, but are hard to find elsewhere and cover all of Gaiman's writing life. As Gaiman says in his introduction, "most of the stories in this book are about love in some form or another," but not requited love. The stories in Smoke and Mirrors touch on all of Gaiman's themes: sex, death, dreams, and the end of the world. From "Chivalry," about the Holy Grail and where it finally ended up, to "Troll Bridge," a very adult version of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff"; from "Bay Wolf," a story poem that melds Beowulf and Baywatch, with interesting results, to "Murder Mysteries," which is about a murder, but also about angels, God's will, and Evil, these stories leave lasting impressions. Fans of Ray Bradbury's short stories and of Gaiman's other works will enjoy this collection. --Nona Vero

From the Back Cover:

In the deft hands of Neil Gaiman, magic is no mere illusion... and anything is possible. In this, Gaiman's first book of short stories, his imagination and supreme artistry transform a mundane world into a place of terrible wonders -- a place where an old woman can purchase the Holy Grail at a thrift store, where assassins advertise their services in the Yellow Pages under "Pest Control," and where a frightened young boy must barter for his life with a mean-spirited troll living beneath a bridge by the railroad tracks. Explore a new reality -- obscured by smoke and darkness, yet brilliantly tangible -- in this extraordinary collection of short works by a master prestidigitator. It will dazzle your senses, touch your heart, and haunt your dreams.

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