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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

Stardust

Stardust - Neil Gaiman One of the delights of Neil Gaiman's books is that they are all so different though each one bears his trademark of inventiveness, humour and narrative boldness.

Stardust begins in the town of Wall which takes its name from the wall beside it. In the wall is a gap which is guarded night and day, every day of the year except one, by two townspeople armed with clubs. Only on Midsummer Day may people pass through into the world of Faerie that lies beyond the wall, to the annual market in which the inhabitants from both worlds mingle freely.

Steeped in British and European folklore, this is the story of Tristan Thorn, a young man who sets out on a journey into Faerie with the apparently impossible intention of bringing a fallen star back to the woman he loves. On his quest he encounters innumerable adventure and gets caught up in all sorts of stories that do not seem to be his own but that reveal themselves to be part of his destiny as the narrative progresses.

It's funny, compelling and enormously entertaining. As with all Gaiman's work, there is a real delight in the narrative process and in surprising the reader with ever more unlikely flights of fancy. I couldn't put it down.