To be published by Headline on 17th June 2014
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You ask me if I can forgive myself?**Many thanks to Headline and Bookbridgr for providing me with a free review copy!**
I can forgive myself...
And so begins The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, a haunting story of family, the otherworld, and a search for hidden treasure. This gorgeous full-colour illustrated book version was born of a unique collaboration between New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman and renowned artist Eddie Campbell, who brought to vivid life the characters and landscape of Gaiman's award-winning story. In this volume, the talents and vision of two great creative geniuses come together in a glorious explosion of color and shadow, memory and regret, vengeance and, ultimately, love.
...for many things. For where I left him.
For what I did.
This was something a little different for me. I've read many of Neil Gaiman's short stories, and I tend to enjoy them quite a lot. I don't really read short stories much in general, but I feel like Gaiman is really good at short stories. They're just so incredibly rich, packing so much in in such a short space, and they always manage to feel like they're just the right length. Just perfect. I like that he tends to put a sharp twist towards the end of his short stories, something that feels like a twist in your own gut as you read it, a chill, a shiver, an abrupt realisation that makes the whole story seem that much more powerful.
This story was no exception. It was haunting and creepy and weird, just like many of Gaiman's short stories. But what made it different was that it was accompanied by some lovely art, blended perfectly with the prose. I've never read any of Eddie Campbell's graphic novels, but when I first opened this book I wasn't very sure about his art. I didn't think I liked it very much. But as I kept reading, I found that Campbell's style grew on me and I thought the art really added to the flavour of the story. There are some really stunning moments.
The story is set in a "Scotland much like our own in Jacobite times". It's about two men and a search for a cave, but of course, with Neil Gaiman, you already know it's about much more than that. The atmosphere of the Scottish isles is beautifully evoked, and I loved the pace and tension of the story, the slow foreboding ascent as the story gathers itself towards its conclusion. I loved finding out what the story was really about, how that's not so obvious until it is.
My boyfriend and I sat in bed reading this out loud, and he did all the Scottish voices, and it was so much fun. I feel like this kind of book is perfect for that kind of experience. We finished it in about an hour and a half, reading it out loud. I got chills at the end. It's a story where all things have their cost. If you're looking for happy stories, this is probably not where you should look. But if you're looking for something a little dark and different, this might just give you the kind of bitter, sharp jolt that you want.