‘Smoke and Mirrors’ by Neil Gaiman

I have never been a great fan of short stories. And even when I read them, it’s always one at a time, each one at a great distance from the other.

Then I started reading ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, Neil Gaiman’s collection of short stories.

The intention was the same: read one story, then choose a novel from the to-be-read pile, then another story and so on.

The first story that Neil Gaiman writes is in the Introduction: a couple receives, as wedding present, a story – their story. I got to the end of it and I thought: “Well, that was the introduction anyway. It doesn’t really count.”

And on I read the first story, ‘Chivalry’, about an old lady who finds the Saint Graal in the local Oxfam shop.

This is when I changed my mind about short stories. I just couldn’t get enough.

Even if ‘Chivalry’ is still my favorite, I couldn’t help devouring every bit of the book, every short story or flash-fiction or poetry that Neil put inside there.

‘The Goldfish Pool and other stories’ was another I loved in particular, the story about a writer who’s called in LA (the 30-minutes city) to write a screenplay out of his book and who finds himself captured in the Hollywood craziness, while enjoying the ancient glamour of cinema through an old black man.

Of course, these are just two of many. It was impressive to walk through a Circus of Horrors, following Neil’s words, as well as meeting the Troll under the bridge. I actually liked ‘Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar’, about an American tourist lost in Scotland, and I loved ‘Virus’, where a boy is literally possessed by the disease (spoiler alert? Just read it…).

Then I read the last story. It’s a sort of retelling of a classic fairytale. The title is ‘Snow, Glass, Apples’ and it takes a completely different angle on the story. I wasn’t particularly fascinated by it, but I have to give Neil credit: I won’t ever look at the original in the same way. Can you guess what fairytale it originally was?

So, what are you waiting for? Read!


Oh, you can do a lot of things:

  • You can find more information on Goodreads;
  • You can buy this book on Amazon;
  • You can buy the audiobook (listen to Chivalry, it’s Neil’s favorite to read out loud).
  • You can look on YouTube for videos of Neil’s reading sessions. It’s so worth it!

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