Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions

Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions

Neil Gaiman

Language: English

Pages: 339

ISBN: 0061450162

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In the deft hands of Neil Gaiman, magic is no mere illusion . . . and anything is possible. In Smoke and Mirrors, Gaiman's imagination and supreme artistry transform a mundane world into a place of terrible wonders—where an old woman can purchase the Holy Grail at a thrift store, where assassins advertise their services in the Yellow Pages under "Pest Control," and where a frightened young boy must barter for his life with a mean-spirited troll living beneath a bridge by the railroad tracks. Explore a new reality, obscured by smoke and darkness yet brilliantly tangible, in this extraordinary collection of short works by a master prestidigitator. It will dazzle your senses, touch your heart, and haunt your dreams.












words, I felt the hairs raise on the back of my head as it called. And then I heard, muffled through the glass but still audible, a low growl, a challenge, and—slowly, unsteadily—a black figure walked down the steps of the house, away from me, toward the Devil. These days the Black Cat no longer moved like a panther, instead he stumbled and rocked, like a sailor only recently returned to land. The Devil was a woman, now. She said something soothing and gentle to the cat, in a tongue that

the . . . No. I cannot say. And all around the flies were buzzing, onelow droning buzz. —Bëelzebubzebubzebub, they buzzed. I could not breathe, I ran from there and sobbed against a wall.” “A fox’s lair indeed,” says the fair woman. (“It was not so,” I mutter.) “They are untidy creatures, so to litter about their dens the bones and skins and feathers of their prey. The French call him Renard, the Scottish, Tod.” “One cannot help one’s name,” says my intended’s father. He is almost

number of old English folktales called “The White Road.” It was as extreme as the stories it was based on. The last to be written was a tale about my maternal grandparents and about stage magic. It was less extreme, but—I hope—just as disturbing as the two stories that preceded it in the sequence. I was proud of all three of them. The vagaries of publishing meant they were actually published over a period of years, so each of them made it into a best of the year anthology (all three of them were

forward to seeing you.” The woman’s car was one of the huge old boatlike jobs you only ever seem to see in California. It smelled of cracked and flaking leather upholstery. We drove out from wherever we were to wherever we were going. Los Angeles was at that time a complete mystery to me; and I cannot say I understand it much better now. I understand London, and New York, and Paris: you can walk around them, get a sense of what’s where in just a morning of wandering, maybe catch the subway. But

street now, at the edge of daybreak. One by one the streetlamps had begun to flicker out, and he was silhouetted against the glow of the dawn sky. He thrust his hands into his pockets. “What happened? I left home, and I lost my way, and these days home’s a long way back. Sometimes you do things you regret, but there’s nothing you can do about them. Times change. Doors close behind you. You move on. You know? “Eventually I wound up here. They used to say no one’s ever originally from L.A. True as

Download sample