**spoiler alert** While the book had interesting concepts of loss, remorse, and longing, I don't quite think the author presented them in the best or...more**spoiler alert** While the book had interesting concepts of loss, remorse, and longing, I don't quite think the author presented them in the best or most concise manner. There were many instances where I thought I could see where the sentence was going, but would be let down when Hay took an unexpected (and most often not good) course. Overflowing with purple prose and "smart" "philosophical" statements, it became a bit tedious to read. What kept me going was the relationship between Rosemary and Walter Geist. Awkward yet warming, I wanted their relationship to flourish, but apparently the author felt it pertinent for Rosemary to be smitten with no-personality Oscar (seriously, he's gorgeous and has golden eyes, but he is a DOUCHE) and leave little in the way for Rosemary and Geist. I just wish that the sex scene (if it can even be called that) between the two aforementioned characters was more passionate - as it was when Geist was touching Rosemary - than awkward. I wish that the author would have written more, rather than implied, how much Rosemary and Geist meant to each other, their longing to be with - if not each other - someone. But no, we're stuck with Rosemary lusting after the tool Oscar, going against her word to Geist in order to please him. It got very old very fast. At least this book got me interested in Melville, which I plan to explore more about in the future. Also, and this was most definitely a device of the author, I really want to know who sent the letter concerning the lost Melville manuscript to Geist! Maybe it's best to have left that up to interpretation,one of the few good things about this book.(less)
If I had to pick one word to describe this book, it would be: Incongruous. Between the ghost-train-cum-cemetery, black mold that makes people racist (...moreIf I had to pick one word to describe this book, it would be: Incongruous. Between the ghost-train-cum-cemetery, black mold that makes people racist (yeah), and a house in California in which old, mummified body parts are found (which I think was supposed to tie together the racist mold and train, but that was a weak link at best), it was a pretty lame plot. Add in the characters that seemed to suddenly "realize" or "understand" some big plot point that would have been literally impossible to piece together in real life, grasping tons of loose ends to come to a conclusion that was really poorly-developed plot device of the author to move things along, the entire book became tedious and contrived. I read over half the book in one day, only because so little information was given even after 150 pages that I felt I HAD to keep reading in order to get anywhere and understand anything. Which didn't even happen after finishing the book, anyway.
The only good part of the book was when a number of school children, under control of the racist mold, smash their teeth out and fill the sore, bleeding sockets with bits of twig and wood to emulate George Washington. (I'm not even sure what that had to do with the plot, but really: nearly everything in this book gave me a "What the hell does this matter?" and "How does this tie in?!" exasperated feeling. Definitely going back to the second-hand-donation store I got it from. Not worth keeping.)(less)
A very simple, beautiful fairy tale. It was short and easy to read, but I don't feel as if the story was lacking because of its length. In fact, I thi...moreA very simple, beautiful fairy tale. It was short and easy to read, but I don't feel as if the story was lacking because of its length. In fact, I think I would have thought it tedious if it would have been any longer than 300 pages; not because the story could not be worked for that long, but because Gaiman wrote it so succinctly that no more was needed. My favorite part was how the Queen Witch was the own cause of her downfall: By cursing the Ditchwater Sal to not recognize the fallen star, Yvaine passes right under the Queen Witch's nose -- without any one being the wiser -- to safety. Or how Yvaine falling was the catalyst to Tristran becoming king -- it all happened because and for her. A wonderful story that felt so much larger than its 235 pages (in a good way!), and I enjoyed it very much.(less)
At the end of the book, Gaiman explains that the history and mythology of the gods has been expounded upon numerous times, and he is not the first nor...moreAt the end of the book, Gaiman explains that the history and mythology of the gods has been expounded upon numerous times, and he is not the first nor the last to bring them into a story. However, I would be very surprised if another book has been written, or will be written, that introduces the gods in such an interesting way. The idea that the gods everyone worshiped in the Old Country coming along with the immigrants to find a new home in America -- which, it turns out, is not a good place for gods -- and taking on human personas. I really enjoyed meeting the gods, many of whom I had already heard of, and researching on the internet many of the other gods Gaiman mentions, to learn as much as I could. That being said, I wish Gaiman would have added more information about certain gods, the main ones in the story. Not history that can be found in a mythology book, but history that would have been unique to the story and the human characters. (Though at the end of many chapters there were a few pages about certain gods and those who worshiped him/her/it, which was pretty interesting.) Also, I was a bit disappointed at how easily Shadow broke up the war between the gods of new and old. I was left feeling that there should have been more conflict, rather than the gods hmm-ing in the affirmative that it was really all Wednesday's plan to have a battle and taking off like it was nothing. However, this was a very good book worth reading, and certainly not my last of Mr. Gaiman.(less)