The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman
One of my young adult regrets is that I didn’t come to the Neil Gaiman fold a lot sooner in life. I started with American Gods and have been working my way around his other novels. I was excited to see what his collected nonfiction would hold.
A View from the Cheap Seats is a career-long compilation of assorted writing, from invited speeches, to introductions to books and albums, to op-eds on history, culture, politics, comics, life, and death. I had no idea Gaiman’s interests ranged so far and wide—but of course they do. His thoughts are witty, intelligent, and well-crafted. I mean, anyone who’s read his work would know that of course, they are. His lives in England and the United States provide an interesting point and counterpoint to anyone who has lived in either country. As an American, I found his declaration that ideas could overcome guns to be wildly hopeful but timely. I will say, though, that the piece I’ve been chewing on since I finished the book, was his review on Dracula. Last year, I had read and reviewed Dracula somewhat unfavorably, but Gaiman’s enthusiastic and intellectual review has convinced me to give it another go. I think my audiobook experience probably diminished some of the major themes in the book, ones that Gaiman highlights.
If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman, I don’t see how you wouldn’t enjoy this book. Not every review is as good as the next, but it’s certainly interesting to see how his own views and perspectives have evolved with his career. Definitely a must for fans and readers of fantasy, comics, and music, alike.