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Smoke and Mirrors

Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (216 ratings)

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Summary

This definitive collection of Neil Gaiman's short fiction will haunt your imagination and move you to the very depths of your soul. An elderly widow finds the Holy Grail beneath an old fur coat. A stray cat fights and refights a terrible nightly battle to protect his unwary adoptive family from unimaginable evil. A young couple receives a wedding gift that reveals a chilling alternative history of their marriage. These tales and much more await in this extraordinary book, revealing one of our most gifted storytellers at the height of his powers.

©1998 Neil Gaiman (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers

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I couldn't stop listening and felt empty when it was over.

I love how these short stories linger with you just enough to have to pause the next one, to take in the situations you are flung into and the horror/ memories that you go through. My favourite and least chilling is the Holy Grail story, the one that gave me the chills was Gaiman's version of Snow White, and the story with the mouse trap made me the most uncomfortable. I will be listening again soon, there's no doubt about it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A Gallery on An Other World

This collection of short stories offers a great opportunity to hear a writer's voice developing. The downside is that the stories can become same-y, and, inevitably, some stories resonate more with a listener. His Murder Mysteries story seems to me to be an absolute marvel--both the story and his reading. I had the same feeling of amazement as a child with a bedtime story, especially with this one but with many of the others as well. His performance of the stories is compelling.

There is much more to Gaiman's stories than things that go bump in the night although he does such stories deftly. Neil Gaiman offers us a perspective on the world that is honest and ironic, slightly cynical but deeply affectionate. Through his stories you meet a gallery of characters some familar--others perhaps that person you saw on the bus last week or that lady on the train. Through his story telling we are transported to someplace almost like here and we come back from the visit just a little bit wiser or kinder or grateful.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A very mixed bag.

I came into this one cold as a fan of Gaiman's work as an Author of comic books but never having read or listened to any of his novels. As a fan of short stories and novellas this seemed like a good place to dip my toe into the water. The experience was mixed at best.

Naturally like any collection of short stories and poems there's a fair bit of diversity on show. But perhaps in some places to such an extent that I lost track of any distinct authorial Voice.

The stories that are good are often great; his lovecraft mythos stories have tons of character and even a fair bit of unexpected humour, and the tale of the troll under the bridge lingered with me long afterwards for no reason I can clearly explain.

But there's a lot of filler added that doesn't quite stand up. Some of this is down to Gaiman being the one to read his own work. The man is without doubt a talented author but he is not a natural narrator or performer. His accents come and go, when he manages a convincing one, and his listless dreamy voice works well for the whimsy but badly for anything where the blood is supposed to run a little hotter.

Gaiman devotees and completists will probably enjoy it a lot. But it's not the best introduction to his writing and I think perhaps he is best served by being read by a professional narrator or voice artist.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • MR
  • poole, United Kingdom
  • 28-12-13

some truely memorable stories but some forgetable

What made the experience of listening to Smoke and Mirrors the most enjoyable?

The wedding, the angle story and snow, glass, apples where very memorable and fantastic tales. Many of the others where good short tales like the American tourist who stopped in a pub, and the werewolf. But several where quite frogetable.

Would you be willing to try another book from Neil Gaiman? Why or why not?

Yes this is my 3rd Neil Gaiman book and his tales are intriguing i say it like that as his story and interesting don't feel like the right words to describe his style.

Which character – as performed by Neil Gaiman – was your favourite?

Don't think i can pick 1 from about all the tales

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

As short stories some of them i did.

Any additional comments?

Neil Gaiman reading his own book he is able to emphasise the important parts. any body listening to this be prepared for some dark tales

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful collection

I really enjoyed listening to this on my drives to and from work. He really creates believable worlds and characters

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Big fan!

Loved it, a big fan of Gaiman tales 😉
The snow White story was the tip of the ice burg.

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BRILLIANT, JUST BRILLIANT.

Another fantastic book by Neil Gaiman. My favourite story was We Can Get Them For Wholesale, it was a dark and interesting tale that had me hooked from the beginning. I've said it before, and I will say it again, Neil Gaiman is one of the best modern fictional writer's and my personal favourite.

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Dark,morbid, extremely good!

I listened to this book and couldn't stop it was interesting and thrilling it is a strangely good,good read one of the best I've heard this year in fact

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • K
  • UK
  • 01-05-18

Smug and Supercilious

If you have read this collection I wonder how you got past the introduction? If you didn’t read it then you probably did the right thing. I wish I hadn’t. I listened to Neil Gaiman’s creative philosophy and varied writing inspirations with increasing unease. But, when he smugly told the reader that, as far as he could see, adulthood meant plenty of ‘foreign travel and getting up late’ whilst implying that he couldn’t understand why the majority of the population’s workplace dissatisfaction couldn’t be rectified by finding a job as ‘easy’ as his, my unease turned to anger. When I thought of how many of his readers will have to work HARD to buy the very books that clearly makes his life so comfortable that he can be so superciliousness, I realised I could not stomach reading what came thereafter.

Perhaps Mr. Gaiman needs less of the distracting ‘mirror’ with which he metaphorises the fantasy genre and more of a window onto the reality of his readers' lives. I shall return this book and put its value towards my hard-earned annual holiday to Bognor AND consider even so modest a destination a privileged.

5 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Alan Parker
  • Alan Parker
  • 09-04-15

Too dark!

The stories are too dark for my tastes. Good narration, first section a waste of time - just talking about how the stories came about.