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Narnia- the Unexpurgated version?,
This review is from: Fragile Things (Kindle Edition)
I found this disparate collection disappointingly weak. Narrative structure dissolves into purple prose, and women are uniformly portrayed as temptresses and unpleasant destroyers of men.
Worst, is the Narnia ' Problem of Susan' story which involves a dream sequence of laughable bad porn content. Gaiman gets a myth, turns it this way or that way, deconstructs it and reassembles it as a satire, destroying any bond of romance or sacredness which the reader might have had toward the initial theme. Narnia with added bestiality? Oooh Vicar, C.S. must be rolling in his grave.
This is an arch, self-knowing kind of trick, and Gaiman is no true magician inasmuch as he seems not to believe in magic at all, only in a conjuror's tricks.
This is somewhat sad for the reader as we vainly search for a bit of truly believed-in faery, a hint of another higher level, but all we receive are knowing winks and an arch melding of Hunter S. Thompson and Pratchett without the muscularity of either's style.
It is all rather drab as poor Harlequin has his heart eaten by a mortician's assistant we are reminded fully of what man-eating bitches fantasy women are, and how men are prey to their fancies and lusts. Sex is usually pretty perverse and unerotic, as though Gaiman has decided that it has to be depicted as slightly shocking and emotionless, like a bad magick.
I am not even sure that Gaiman means to be stereotypically sexist, he just doesn't understand this is not the only angle you can take with demonesses, vampires, goddesses and fairyfolk.
Search if you like for a grain of true magic, and there are great ideas dotted about, you will not find a true believer in the arcane, just a rather straightforward twisting of our expectations and preconceptions.
Is this a fair trick to play? Gaiman is pretty much universally acclaimed, but I find him a little aloof and disconnected from the lover of myth and legend I think the trouble is a dichotomy between his placement as a fantasy writer ( which he surely is) and his ultimate disbelief in his subject as anything other than a series of leitmotifs.
If you create a fantasy world in which structure and character can do anything you command, the only anarchy may be to detach yourself from your reader and like the oozalumfaloozalum bird, fly up your own nether regions into a pseudo-literary stratosphere of your own making.
It is not even crazy enough to make it rock, language is normalised and unexperimental.
This book is neither truly original, or truly piecemeal, it contains excellent ideas which need fleshing out, editing and punching into shape.Neither fish nor fowl, this book is not quite suitable for your inner maiden Aunt and not quite mad enough for your secret self- the eccentric Uncle.