An enthralling collection of nonfiction essays on a myriad of topics—from art and artists to dreams, myths, and memories—observed in #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman’s probing, amusing, and distinctive style.
An inquisitive observer, thoughtful commentator, and assiduous craftsman, Neil Gaiman has long been celebrated for the sharp intellect and startling imagination that informs his bestselling fiction. Now, The View from the Cheap Seats brings together for the first time ever more than sixty pieces of his outstanding nonfiction. Analytical yet playful, erudite yet accessible, this cornucopia explores a broad range of interests and topics, including (but not limited to): authors past and present; music; storytelling; comics; bookshops; travel; fairy tales; America; inspiration; libraries; ghosts; and the title piece, at turns touching and self-deprecating, which recounts the author’s experiences at the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood.
Insightful, incisive, witty, and wise, The View from the Cheap Seats explores the issues and subjects that matter most to Neil Gaiman—offering a glimpse into the head and heart of one of the most acclaimed, beloved, and influential artists of our time.
This collection conclusively proves that Gaiman is just as accomplished an essayist as he is an author of fiction (The Ocean at the End of the Lane) and comics (The Sandman). Echoing Rainer Maria Rilke's sentiment that "To praise is the whole thing," the collection is about building things up, not tearing them down. Gaiman's paeans to books, libraries, and bookstores, which tellingly are grouped together at the start, are heartfelt gems that capture the joy of reading. The author's eclecticism finds him writing on many disparate subjects; Gaiman is as deft analyzing Batman and G.K. Chesterton as he is describing the plight of Syrian refugees in Jordan. The most meaningful piece is titled simply "Make Good Art" the 2012 commencement address for the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The speech is in the same category as David Foster Wallace's "This Is Water" in terms of wisdom per square inch. Gaiman's words capture the importance of making art that is sincerely one's own. With this volume, Gaiman has shown that his nonfiction rivals his much-lauded fiction.
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Words Can't Describe It But I'll Try
I've been a fan of the written word as long as I can remember - it was a form of escapism, a chance to visit other worlds, when reality didn't afford the opportunity - through those literary forays, I've enjoyed Tolkien, Vonnegut, Brautigan, Lewis, Wilde, and others - through my travels and education, my eclectic tastes expanded and I've included even more traveling companions, old and new, like Hemingway, Adams, Manguel, Eco, Zafon, Kellerman, Irving, Wolfe, Irving, and Asimov - while all have been special, there has been one who has been constant, who's tales have charmed me over the years, where I've pulled passages to fit moments in my life perfectly and that's Neil Gaiman - this book is no different, except as a collection, it's themes are even more accessible to each of the times and situations in my, in our, lives - I had already received the ARC (Advanced Reading Copy), will be purchasing a signed edition when available, and purchased the audible edition because I love to hear him describe his thoughts in that quintessential British accent, imagining we're issues of the day over a pint or two at his favorite pub - I can't recommend this book in any form highly enough, as it has renewed my faith in the written and auditory with all of its pleasures - thank you, Mr. Gaiman!"