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Fall is the time for spooky stories and this collection suits the season well. Not tales of horror or ghost stories per se, these stories all deliciously skirt along the borderline between reality and unreality, the natural and the supernatural, wonder and horror. Almost all succeed in evoking an eerie dreamlike surrealism in settings ranging from an ancient Celtic island to modern day NYC.
As in any collection of stories, there will be some that appeal more than others. I was going to list some of my favorites, but the list got too long (although Gaiman's The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains is exceptional). The various narrators are each wonderfully suited to and adept at the stories they read.
If you prefer high levels of action and graphic horror, this book is probably not what you're looking for. But if you like stories which could be told around a fire on a stormy fall night and which will leave you with a prickly feeling on your neck, you will find this collection quite to your taste.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
There are 27 short stories in this collection, along with an introduction by Neil Gaiman. Each story has its own chapter. I found it incredibly frustrating that Audible did not provide information on the individual stories, so I put together the following list of Chapter numbers, story titles, authors, narrators, and story lengths. My favorites include "Blood", "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains", "Juvenal Nyx", "Goblin Lake", "Catch and Release", "Loser", "Unwell", "A Life in Fictions", "Let the Past Begin", "Parallel Lines", and "The Devil on the Staircase".
1. “Introduction – Just Four Words” by Neil Gaiman – narrated by Neil Gaiman – 8:23
2. “Blood” by Roddy Doyle – narrated by Euan Morton – 22:24
3. “Fossil-Figures” by Joyce Carol Oates – narrated by Anne Bobby – 37:02
4. “Wildfire in Manhattan” by Joanne Harris – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 50:53
5. “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” by Neil Gaiman – narrated by Euan Morton – 1:03:19
6. “Unbelief” by Michael Marshall Smith – narrated by Peter Francis James – 16:33
7. “The Stars are Falling” by Joe R. Lansdale – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 1:10:39
8. “Juvenal Nyx” by Walter Mosley – narrated by Peter Francis James – 1:15:55
9. “The Knife” by Richard Adams – narrated by Euan Morton – 6:42
10. “Weights and Measures” by Jodi Picoult – narrated by Anne Bobby – 37:08
11. “Goblin Lake” by Michael Swanwick – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 35:04
12. “Mallon the Guru” by Peter Straub – narrated by Peter Francis James – 14:42
13. “Catch and Release” by Lawrence Block – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 34:04
14. “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” by Jeffrey Ford – narrated by Peter Francis James – 34:41
15. “Loser” by Chuck Palahniuk – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 16:50
16. “Samantha’s Diary” by Diana Wynne Jones – narrated by Katherine Kellgren – 35:36
17. “Land of the Lost” by Steward O’Nan – narrated by Anne Bobby – 12:22
18. “Leif in the Wind” by Gene Wolfe – narrated by Katherine Kellgren – 27:56
19. “Unwell” by Carolyn Parkhurst – narrated by Anne Bobby – 27:51
20. “A Life in Fictions” by Kat Howard – narrated by Katherine Kellgren – 11:21
21. “Let the Past Begin” by Jonathan Carroll – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 31:13
22. “The Therapist” by Jeffrey Deaver – narrated by Peter Francis James – 1:25:59
23. “Parallel Lines” by Tim Powers – narrated by Anne Bobby – 26:34
24. “The Cult of the Nose” by Al Sarrantonio – narrated by Peter Francis James – 22:58
25. “Human Intelligence” by Kurt Anderson – narrated by Katherine Kellgren – 45:04
26. “Stories” by Michael Moorcock – narrated by Euan Morton – 58:39
27. “The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon” by Elizabeth Hand – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 2:23:02
28. “The Devil on the Staircase” by Joe Hill – narrated by Peter Francis James – 39:06
(The last 4:50 of this chapter is the end credits for the audiobook)
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
I am a great fan of Neil Gaiman so I had to listen to the stories as soon as possible. The audiobook is read by a host of different people which helped to keep me interested in the many different stories.
The biggest disappointment for me was that Gaiman does not read his own story which is one the best in the book. I feel that Gaiman adds somthing to his stories when he reads them.
Overall I felt that the book had many more great stories than poor ones but there where a few that I felt like fast forwarding through.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Weeks after listening to the book, stories and scenes keep on coming back to me. This is an artful collection of short stories, selected not around a genre or theme, but around the idea that good stories hold a magical power to create worlds in the reader' s mind, regardless of their subject matter.
OK, there may have been a couple that I wished were shorter stories, and one I wished wasn't there at all, and for that I'd have dropped it to four stars ... but then the choice of readers and their engagement with the texts was so enjoyable, I put the missing star back in again just for the audio experience of it.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
This is an excellent collection of master storytelling. As with all compillations, it is not possible to enjoy every offering but I found enjoyment in the majority of tales.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful