“Adventures are all very well in their place, but there’s a lot to be said for regular meals and freedom from pain.” (Stardust by Neil Gaiman)
My recent move across the country, into a city with a big car-culture, has meant that I’ve been driving more than I ever thought I would. However, the problem has been much ameliorated by the fact that the library I am fortunate enough to work at has an outstanding audiobook collection. After several failed attempts, I have found that I distinctly prefer audiobook performers to be male and to have an English accent. If they narrate their own works, even better. This makes Neil Gaiman pretty much the perfect author for me to listen to; fortunately, he is rather prolific. Although I don’t expect to love any of his works as much as I love The Graveyard Book, I look forward to many happy hours listening to his lovely, slow voice.
Stardust was just what Neil Gaiman set out to create: a fairy tale for adults. As do fairy tales for children, Neil focuses on the story over character development. This is not to say that the characters are uninteresting, but rather that this is simply an excellent story. As with other modern fairy tales for adults, like The Princess Bride, it has everything one could want from a story: love, an evil witch, a satisfyingly romantic ending, adventure, and magic. To make it distinct from the children’s variety, it even has a steamy sex scene, some well-chosen language, and an imperfect love interest. This is not a must-read, but if you ever stumble across it and find yourself facing a long drive, pick it up and prepare yourself for an utterly satisfying afternoon.
Buy – Borrow – TBR – Avoid
Length: 6 hours, 27 minutes (Audiobook Quality: Good)
Ending: Satisfying as only a fairy tale can be
Recommended Further Reading: Fairy tales for Adults are few and far between, The Princess Bride being a notable exception. If you really like the concept of a fairy tale, you could go back to classic ones like the Grimm Brother’s or Italian Folk Tales by Italo Calvino (my personal favorite).