‘unavoidably detained by the world’ – Review: Stardust, Neil Gaiman

stardust

Have been unavoidably detained by the world. 

Expect us when you see us.

And so I celebrate finishing my degree with some words that I feel will serve me well in the coming months.

I’ve never read any Neil Gaiman before, and despite feeling like I knew a lot about him (graphic novels and Doctor Who), and indeed having watched the film Stardust multiple times, I didn’t know much about his writing style and found myself in for a pleasant surprise when settling down to read the book as a post-dissertation renewal of reading for pleasure.

Stardust was a surprisingly short but beautifully sweet story, Gaiman’s simple prose style refreshing, nuanced and wonderfully easy to read. I loved the ‘Victorian fairy-tale for adults’ idea, convinced it was written for children until the word ‘nipple’ told me otherwise. Gaiman has created a world simultaneously child-like and grown-up, both fantastical and funny, and it was a beautiful and engaging read from beginning to end.

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For me it was pure escapism, delving into a universe of mysterious creatures, falling stars and magical spells, but all the while feeling that I was reading a book supremely clever and amusing in its use of the genre. I’m looking forward to reading some more of Gaiman’s works, Neverwhere first on the agenda, and if they’re anything like Stardust, I know I’ll love them.

With all the freedom I now possess, I’m far too excited with what to read next, and it’s definitely time to start on my Post-Graduation Reading List. For now, though, I am off to the Lake District next week and with me I’m taking Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss for some canonical reading in a a beautiful setting.

Some time I’ll know I’ll get around to job applications and reality will inevitably get in the way, but for now I’d much rather be detained by the world for a little while longer.

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