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This blog is an extension of our book groups which we welcome you to attend on the first Tuesday of each month.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Sandman – Neil Gaiman

I’m often asked what my favourite book or author is and while the answer sometimes varies depending on what I’ve read recently, my standard response is Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.  It’s a strange choice for a few reasons.  It’s a comic book/graphic novel which is a genre I never read much in.  Also, the publication is comprised of a series of short stories, some of which are only loosely related to the overall plot and I rarely enjoy short story compilations, but ultimately Sandman is an epic story arc with many side-stories that add colour to the world.

The overriding story arc concerns the character Dream, one of the seven Endless: Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delerium who was once Delight.  These beings have existed even before the gods so it is a surprise to Dream when he is summoned and imprisoned by a human.  After spending decades in captivity he escapes and begins the task of restoring the dream realm which has slowly fallen apart in his absence.  His captivity also gives him a slightly different outlook on life and he works to rectify past mistakes also.  

Despite being an extremely popular work, Sandman is quite a hard book to recommend to others.  Sandman was initially released in 1988 as a monthly serial and Neil Gaiman himself has admitted that he had not yet found inspiration for the series in the early issues.  Book 1 reads more like a horror story in parts so some people recommend starting at book 2 or even book 3, I still recommend people start from the start, because there are multiple plot points in the early stories that are referred to throughout the series and I feel every book builds and improves upon the earlier ones.

Michael L.

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