Book Review: Trigger Warning
By: Neil Gaiman
Published By: William Morrow
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Page Count: 310
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Adult - Fiction
I don’t read a lot of short stories. I like to get deep, deep into the world of whatever story I’m reading which is hard to do with short stories. But Trigger Warning, a collection of twenty-four short stories by Neil Gaiman, has reminded of how and why short stories can be the perfect format for storytelling.
Gaiman’s genius and breadth of imagination are definitely on display in Trigger Warning and make it an engaging read. It’s clear from the variety of stories, settings and even formats that writing is a playground for him and he was having a grand old time at recess. He’s got dark, brooding stories. He’s got funny stories. He’s got creepy stories. He even has one truly sweet story that just makes me sigh. The best part of a collection like this (other than the fact that Neil Gaiman wrote it) is that there is something for everyone. You might not like every single story he offers, but I can almost guarantee that you will find at least a few stories that you will love.
Several stories, all of which are quite different, stood out to me. “Cassandra” deals with a made-up girlfriend come to life. Gaiman tells “Orange” strictly through the character’s responses to an enormous list of interview questions; it’s also the funniest story in the book. “Calendar” is itself a collection of mini-stories, one for each month of the year; the section titled “October” is the sigh-worthy story of incredible sweetness. In “Death and Honey,” we discover how Sherlock Holmes spends his retirement after Mycroft’s death. “And Weep, Like Alexander” explains why we don’t have some of the inventions we all thought we’d have by now like jet packs and hover cars. I just can’t get over the variety of the stories in this collection!
A word on the title: my understanding of trigger warnings was that they were to warn people who had issues with PTSD or other serious emotional trauma from violent assault, etc. that they might encounter something that could “trigger” painful/damaging memories. By that definition, I didn’t think there was anything in the stories that would cause undue distress for adult readers or older teenagers.
Multiple award winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman returns to dazzle, captivate, haunt, and entertain with this third collection of short fiction following Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things--which includes a never-before published American Gods story, "Black Dog," written exclusively for this volume.
In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction--stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013--as well "Black Dog," a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.
Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In "Adventure Story"--a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane--Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience "A Calendar of Tales" are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year--stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother's Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale "The Case of Death and Honey". And "Click-Clack the Rattlebag" explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we're all alone in the darkness.
A sophisticated writer whose creative genius is unparalleled, Gaiman entrances with his literary alchemy, transporting us deep into the realm of imagination, where the fantastical becomes real and the everyday incandescent. Full of wonder and terror, surprises and amusements,Trigger Warning is a treasury of delights that engage the mind, stir the heart, and shake the soul from one of the most unique and popular literary artists of our day.