Source: TLC Book Tours
Paperback, 368 pgs.
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Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman is a fanciful collection of short stories in a variety of forms, including those that use letters, poetry, and stories within stories. In the introduction, Gaiman explains what he means by trigger warnings and subsequently explains the seeds that began the stories and the thought processes behind them. Readers who like surprises may want to skip the explanations and head right into the stories, because on their own, you can see how trigger warnings might be necessary for some readers.
“I’m thinking rather about those images or words or ideas that drop like trapdoors beneath us, throwing us out of our safe, sane world into a place much more dark and less welcoming. … And what we learn about ourselves in those moments, where the trigger has been squeezed, is this: the past is not dead.” (pg. XV)
Stories in the collection are twisted, have dark shadows that play at the edges, and will have readers contemplating what on earth they’ve just read. “A Calendar of Tales” was a fun experiment conducted with the help of Twitter in which statements from strangers spawned ideas for stories, and these tales are spontaneous and captivating with images that references the months of the tales. Readers will love the tone used by Gaiman, who builds little mysteries one word at a time. Gaiman has chosen his formats and language very carefully — sucking readers in quickly and astonishing them by the end. However, one story — The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains, previously reviewed here — that makes an appearance in this collection may be better read in its illustrated format — it’s so much richer. But one of the creepiest and unsettling stories in the collection is “Click-Clack Rattlebag” in which a young boy asks for a scary, but not too scary story before bed from his babysitter. The story that’s told is not what the babysitter or the reader expects, and it will have readers looking very closely about the shadows at the edges of the room.
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman was a satisfactory collection and while the theme seems to be the inescapable past, many of these fanciful stories also seek answers to what happens when you begin forgetting or when the future you expected does not come to pass.
About the Author:
Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, and is the recipient of numerous literary honors. Originally from England, he now lives in America.