Nick's Reviews > The Sandman, Vol. 7: Brief Lives

The Sandman, Vol. 7 by Neil Gaiman
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Feb 14, 15

bookshelves: fantasy, graphic-novels, mythology, gritty, dark-fantasy, own, favorites, 6-stars, 7-stars, 2014-graphic-novels, essential-reads, 1st-1st
Read from November 04 to 07, 2014

Shit.

That was so good.

My second favorite after Volume 5, A Game of You. Maybe they’re tied, but maybe I’m consumed by the initial high you get after a Goodread. We shall name that bibliotoxication.

Brief Lives centers around Delirium and her quest to find her brother, Destruction. Morpheus accompanies her through the majority of the volume and we really see a lot of both of their personalities. Actually, there’s a fair amount of development of all the Endless.

I love delirium.

I love her for the same reasons I love Auri from The Name of the Wind. For those of you who are familiar with the character, she embodies innocence, delicacy, fragility, intelligence, and a whole lot of oddity. She is not delirious though—and that’s not where I see the likeness. Both characters seem to say things that strike you as odd at first, and then it takes a minute to put it in context of the scene, the chapter, the book, and the character themselves, and you realize that it was the right thing to say.

”I like airplanes. I like anywhere that isn't a proper place. I like in betweens.”

In some ways Delirium is a lot like this. Toward the beginning of the volume her sentences were so far astray as to be incomprehensible or, at least, tough to follow, but about three issues in she starts changing. She is innocent, and lost, and loves her family. She has imagination, and ideas, and cares if her family loves her back. And she says some funny shit, where the initial reaction is, “What the hell,” and then you stop and contemplate before thinking, “Well… why the hell not?”

"What's the name of the word for the precise moment when you realize that you've actually forgotten how it felt to make love to somebody you really liked a long time ago?"

"When you say words a lot they don't mean anything. Or maybe they don't mean anything anyway, and we just think they do."

Sometimes nonsense talk is a lot deeper than it may seem.

“Have you ever spent days and days and days making up flavors of ice cream that no one's ever eaten before? Like chicken and telephone ice cream? Green mouse ice cream was the worst. I didn't like that at all.”

And sometimes nonsense talk is just nonsense talk. But we appreciate it for the same reason we smile when a child comes up with a wild idea.

We also see more of Morpheus' relationship with his son, Orpheus—promises made and promises kept. This is a sad bit here, but it allows us to see that stoic, stone-cold Dream cares. Morpheus is changing

(view spoiler)

"Because there's no such thing as a one-sided coin... Because there are two sides to every sky..."

“I like the stars. It's the illusion of permanence, I think. I mean, they're always flaring up and caving in and going out. But from here, I can pretend...I can pretend that things last. I can pretend that lives last longer than moments. Gods come, and gods go. Mortals flicker and flash and fade. Worlds don't last; and stars and galaxies are transient, fleeting things that twinkle like fireflies and vanish into cold and dust. But I can pretend...”

Gaiman, as always, starts the reader out feeling like we are dealing with gods, in some form or another—and in a way, we are—but we slowly come to realize how human-like they can be. Gaiman is the god of anthropomorphism.

Volume 7, issues #41-49.
#41, Brief Lives 1
#42, Brief Lives 2
#43, Brief Lives 3
#44, Brief Lives 4
#45, Brief Lives 5
#46, Brief Lives 6
#47, Brief Lives 7
#48, Brief Lives 8
#49, Brief Lives 9
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