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Stardust
by Neil Gaiman
Headline, 2000. Paperback. 280 pages.
ISBN 0747263698 (buy at Amazon.co.uk)
Bought on 11 December 2001 at Amazon.co.uk for £4.79
The versatile Neil Gaiman is best known for scripting upmarket graphic novels, most famously the lengthy Sandman cycle. Stardust was a joint project with artist Charles Vess, a short novel of fairyland enriched by at least one sumptuous painting on every page. This edition contains only the (slightly rewritten) text, alas. Gaiman's story looks back to days before commercial genre fantasy, to Lord Dunsany's and Hope Mirrlees's visions of Faerie as a misty country which is at the same time temptingly close and "over the hills and far away". The simple tale is new but has a twice-told familiarity, crafted like a mosaic from many traditional elements. Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest. Stardust is by turns knowing, poetic, comic and grisly and exudes considerable charm. If only we had those full-colour Vess paintings too.

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© 2001 by Netpoint NV. Last modified by Michel Vuijlsteke 14.08.04@07:41:51