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Stardust
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Bretnie | 569 comments Welcome to our discussion of Neil Gaiman's Stardust. This thread is for spoiler-free discussion of the book.

Who's joining us for the conversation? And how are you reading the book? With the illustrations, as a regular novel, or as an audiobook (with Neil Gaiman narrating). How did you choose which version to read?


Nadine (nadinekc) | 411 comments I finished about 2 weeks ago - read my library's print copy, so unfortunately I don't have a copy to consult. No illustrations, but at least for this book I like it better that way.


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2306 comments The copy I read had illustrations - they were great. It was the used copy I spied in the independent bookstore I was in a few years ago (I read it in 2012).


message 4: by Lily (last edited Jan 16, 2020 07:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lily (joy1) | 2465 comments My library had the not-illustrated version, which I checked out shortly after the poll, but did not get read. In the meantime, I requested the copy in our library system with the illustrations by Charles Vess. It surprised me. It is beautiful and a joy to read from, although at this point I have scanned far more pages for the artwork than I have read for the story. I find it surprisingly slow going, but I have several other books underway that have closer in deadlines for being read. (Does anyone know if the name "Tristan" has any intended linkages to Sterne's Tristram Shandy, or is the overlap in spellings totally a coincidence?)


Whitney | 2088 comments Mod
I had assumed Tristan's name was a call out to Sir Tristan, the Arthurian knight, which speaks to romantic adventure and a chivalrous nature. Also to Tristan and Isolde, where Tristan is bringing Isolde back to marry his uncle, but they fall in love on the journey - in Stardust it's something of a reversal, with Tristan (sort of) betrothed to another.

Tristan has also been spelled Tristam, but I haven't read Sterne; so maybe someone else can speak to any parallels.


Elaine | 103 comments I’m reading it on Kindle, no illustrations, and am about a third of the way through. I have noticed a few literary allusions, but find that Gaiman alters them. For instance, when one of the characters heads off to sell the goat, I was reminded of the beginning of Jack and the Beanstalk, only this character meets a witch-woman who casts a spell on him. Septimus is also the name of a character in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway who suffers from shell shock. The Tristan allusion seems work with various connections. Perhaps I should take notes.


Whitney | 2088 comments Mod
Elaine wrote: "Septimus is also the name of a character in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway who suffers from shell shock. .."

The royal sons are all named after the order of their birth, Primus, Secundus, Tertius, Quintus, Quartus, Quintus, Sextus, and Septimus. There is some folklore around a seventh son of a seventh son, of course, but I didn't notice any implication the the former Lord of Stormhold was himself a seventh son.

Tristan's mother's name, Una, means "one".


Lily (joy1) | 2465 comments Thank you all for this discussion of names. Sterne's "Tristram" is a much more interesting character than I had any idea until getting involved in the current Western Canon board read of him -- sort of a 1700's Saturday Night Live story is my irreverent characterization, But Sterne gives a heavy sentimentalist side to his stories/characters and was probably very familiar with Sir Tristan. Yet, so far I haven't caught allusions in that direction.


Bretnie | 569 comments Thanks for the notes on the names - I didn't put much thought in them while reading, so I appreciate thinking more about them in hindsight.

At the end of the audiobook, Gaiman talks about how the illustrated version (not quite a graphic novel) was published roughly the same time as the traditional novel. I like that it was offered in two versions. I enjoyed scanning the illustrations from the hoopla version from the library, maybe more than I expected. They felt, well, illustrative of the characters and provided a good visual setting for the book.


Bretnie | 569 comments The book was published in 1999, which meant Hugh was generous to allow this one for discussion. Did you note any differences in style or general writing that made it feel different than 21st Century Lit? Aside from it being fantasy/fairy tale?


message 11: by Sam (new)

Sam | 176 comments I am running late on this and will be listening to the audiobook and listening along. Gaiman's narration of his books are enchanting for his voice imparts a sense of the magic and wonder that inherent in stories when we read them as children. Does anyone else admire his skills as a narrator?


Bretnie | 569 comments Sam wrote: "I am running late on this and will be listening to the audiobook and listening along. Gaiman's narration of his books are enchanting for his voice imparts a sense of the magic and wonder that inher..."

Definitely! I'd actually listened to two of his other books as audiobooks and didn't like his narration a lot. Perhaps he'd improved by the time he recorded this one! He has a nice interview at the end describing how he came up with the idea for the book.

An excerpt (from, sorry, wikipedia):
"One day while driving he had seen a wall on the side of the road and had conceived the idea of Faerie being behind the wall, this sparked an idea in his head about an American novelist who moved to England where he would find out about this wall, the book was to be called Wall. Soon after he was nominated for a literary award which he won, at a celebratory party he saw a shooting star and immediately came up with the idea of Stardust. He dragged Vess out of a party that he was at and outlined the plot to him, Vess agreed to do the illustrations. Initially it was released in 1997 in what is known in the medium of comics as a prestige format four-issue mini-series. This means it came out once a month in a square-bound high-gloss booklet, with high grade paper, high quality color and no advertisements.

Gaiman and Vess originally intended the story to be released complete, as a single book, which would better reproduce the painted illustrations of Vess and be a "story book" for all ages, and a release in this format was made in 1998. There was both a hardback (ISBN 1-56389-431-9) and a trade paperback edition (ISBN 1-56389-470-X).



Tiffany | 83 comments My copy from the library just arrived, so I'll be starting reading in the next day or two.

The edition I have (Stardust) has a lovely cover, but no internal illustrations. I feel like I'm going to be missing out on something grand.


Bretnie | 569 comments Tiffany wrote: "My copy from the library just arrived, so I'll be starting reading in the next day or two.

The edition I have (Stardust) has a lovely cover, but no internal illustrations. I feel l..."


Check to see if your library has a copy through Hoopla! I skimmed it after listening to the audiobook and quite liked the illustrations.


Tiffany | 83 comments Bretnie wrote: "Check to see if your library has a copy through Hoopla! I skimmed it after listening to the audiobook and quite liked the illustrations."

Oh my goodness, what a great idea! I checked, they have it, and now I've borrowed it :) Thanks!!


Whitney | 2088 comments Mod
There is a great story about a signed ARC of Stardust that Gaiman donated to Worldbuilders. For anyone unfamiliar, Worldbuilders is Patrick Rothfuss' awesome charity that raises money for Heifer International (another awesome charity). If you donate through Worldbuilders, every $10 gets you entered in a lottery for donated books or games.

Every year, whoever has won the Stardust arc has returned it to go back into the lottery. The second year, they auctioned it instead, and the winner who paid $2500 still donated it back. The full story with additional cool twists and turns is here: https://worldbuilders.org/blog/stardu...


message 17: by Lily (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lily (joy1) | 2465 comments Whitney wrote: "There is a great story about a signed ARC of Stardust that Gaiman donated to Worldbuilders. For anyone unfamiliar, Worldbuilders is Patrick Rothfuss' awesome charity that raises money for Heifer In..."

Thank you for this story, Whitney!


Bretnie | 569 comments Whitney wrote: "There is a great story about a signed ARC of Stardust that Gaiman donated to Worldbuilders. For anyone unfamiliar, Worldbuilders is Patrick Rothfuss' awesome charity that raises money for Heifer In..."

That's amazing!


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 64 comments I re-read this book a couple months ago (the illustrated version this time). It's one of my favorite fantasy novels - I first read it many years ago when the movie version was near release. I was surprised during this re-read to discover that the protagonist's name is "Tristran" not "Tristan" as I had been perceiving it to be. I mention it only because I see from the posts above that a few others also saw it as "Tristan" so I'm happy that I was not alone in mis-reading that.


Bretnie | 569 comments RJ wrote: "I re-read this book a couple months ago (the illustrated version this time). It's one of my favorite fantasy novels - I first read it many years ago when the movie version was near release. I was s..."

That's funny, you're so right! I listened to it as an audiobook and had written it off as part of Gaiman's accent, but then when I read through the illustrated version and saw "Tristran" I haven't been able to make it stick!

How is the movie?


Whitney | 2088 comments Mod
Good Lord! I've read the book, seen the movie, and listened to the audiobook, and I still had it in my head as Tristan!

The movie is quite good. The sky pirate section is much expanded, to good effect.


message 22: by Sam (new)

Sam | 176 comments I noticed some interest in background or sources for this book or influences on Gaiman in general. The article has Gaiman quoting two major sources for this book.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/200...

Lud-in-the-Mist

The King of Elfland's Daughter

The Lucy Clifford story mentioned at the end of the article is called, "The New Mother," and is included in Anyhow Stories, Moral And Otherwise And Wooden Tony, And Anyhow Story: Reprinted From The Last Touches, but should easily be found online since it is in the public domain. It was a source for Coraline.


message 23: by Lily (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lily (joy1) | 2465 comments @4Lily wrote: "...(Does anyone know if the name "Tristan" has any intended linkages to Sterne's Tristram Shandy, or is the overlap in spellings totally a coincidence?)"

Well, I failed to check the text itself for our hero's name, woe on me. But I did still notice one surprising connection between our hero figure Tristran and Sterne in the text: describing the sitting room where Tristran met Victoria on his return: "It was furnished with a small chaise lounge, a low table upon which was a well-thumbed copy of the sermons of Laurence Sterne, a pianoforte, and several leather armchairs, and ...." p192 (A hefty sentimental and moral allusion for the scene on Gaiman's part?)


message 24: by Lily (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lily (joy1) | 2465 comments Sam wrote: "I noticed some interest in background or sources for this book or influences on Gaiman in general. The article has Gaiman quoting two major sources for this book. https://www.theguardian.com/books/200......"

Thx for the Guardian article, Sam, that I finally just got around to reading. It complemented the book proposal in the edition I read.


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