Can I get there by candlelight?

There, and back again.

I really don’t know why I was so surprised by “Stardust”. It’s Neil Gaiman. It’s got Neil Gaiman written all over it.

And I love Neil Gaiman, of course I’d love “Stardust”, even if it did take me a while to get the thing going. I love how his stories are never focused on one plot, but instead several intricate, converging ones that sort of complete one another – and then just BLOW MY MIND-, but at first I’m never seem to be hooked enough to compulsively read it. So granted, it took me a couple of weeks.

But once you’re hooked, you’re hooked.

I’d seen the movie and was stunned when I found out it was based on a book by none other than Neil Gaiman himself (who as you can see, I hold in great esteem). The movie manages to transcribe most of the quirkiness of the book, and perhaps even soften some aspects of it that kind of bugged me around the end, BUT it is nowhere near as enticing and just… linguistically seductive as the book. And it’s a pretty good movie.

But I’m assuming you know something of the plot. Actually, at this point, I think it’s almost irrelevant that you know the plot. It’s going to sound weird if I sum it up for you. It’s how it is displayed that’s interesting, as in most good novels. (But if you must know — simpleton boy promises his love-interest the fallen star they’d just seen, in return, she says she’ll give him whatever he desires. To find the star, he must cross the wall his village is named after, into a magical and fantastical world, where the star is actually a slightly glowing young woman with a short temper. There are several people looking for her, for all sorts of reasons. Stuff happens.)

I caved and dog-earned by favourite bits of it, as proof of my enthusiasm.

Firstly, I’d never heard shyness being described this way. It’s just so right.

He was painfully shy, which, as is often the manner of the painfully shy, he overcompensated for by being too loud at the wrong times.

Secondly, I don’t remember this quote, I just found it on Goodreads, but it just sums up what Neil Gaiman books are all about sooo nicely I had to add it.

A philosopher once asked, “Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?”

Pointless, really…”Do the stars gaze back?” Now that’s a question.

Do you get it? Why it’s such a fascinating read? Why it never ceases to surprise you? Because never once had I stopped to think about trees and their former life —

“You’re a tree,” said Tristan, putting his thoughts into words.

“I didn’t always used to be a tree,” said the voice in the rustling of the copper beech leaves. “A magician made me a tree.”

“What were you before?” asked Tristan.

“Do you think he likes me?”

“Who?”

“Pan. If you were the Lord of the Forest, you wouldn’t give a job to someone, tell them to give all possible aid and succor, unless you liked them, would you?”

“Well…” said Tristan, but before he had decided on the politic answer, the tree had already said, “A nymph. I was a wood-nymph. But I got persued by a prince, not a nice prince, the other kind, and, well, you’d think a prince, even the wrong kind, would understand about boundaries, wouldn’t you?”

“You would?”

“Exactly what I think. But he didn’t, so I did a bit of invoking while I was running, and -ba-boom!–tree. What do you think?”

“Well,” said Tristan. “I do not know what you were like as a wood-nymph, madam, but you are a magnificent tree.”

The tree made no immediate reply, but her leaves rustled prettily. “I was pretty cute as a nymph, too,” she admitted, coyly.

(pages 186-7)

It’s stuff like that which makes me looove this author. And this book by extention.

I actually can’t find the quote that I really, really loved. It describes Faerie. All my other ones are kind of spoiler-ly.

Did I convince you that this is a very, very good book?

That your brain craves something like this? To go places it’s neeever been before?

Please tell me I did. And then go read it.

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