Review: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Well, Neil Gaiman has done it again.

Trigger Warning is an eerie, irreverent, occasionally shocking bouquet of absolutely wonderful stories and poems. He took his title from the psychological term which has grown so popular of late. A “trigger warning” is a caution to any passersby that the contents of the upcoming experience could remind them of past traumas, deep fears, and generally unsafe places. That’s a pretty accurate picture of what it’s like to wander through the stories of Mr. Gaiman’s imagination.

I wonder, Are fictions safe places? And then I ask myself, Should they be safe places? 


My first exposure to Gaiman was through some of his films (Coraline, Stardust, the wonderful, delightful, totally original Mirrormask, etc.) and I was not surprised to find that I loved his books even more than the darkly whimsical movies that came from them. Trigger Warning made me stop in my tracks and say “whoa…” out loud more than once. It has made me dream of wandering through the gray, misty landscape of the Isle of Skye. I’ve been lost in the stark, burnt out remains of the Lunar Labyrinth. And I now listen to the howls of wolves very differently.

The short stories and poems of this collection varied widely in length and style, but Gaiman’s signature lilt of melancholy amusement and morbid beauty ran throughout. A few, like “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” and “Feminine Endings”, left me a little more wary of the weird, wide world. Still, not a single story left me disappointed.  

I always recommend Neil Gaiman. He’s not for children, mostly, or for the faint of spirit. But if you’re willing, if you’re able, he will lead you to places in the realm of Faerie that will press new perspectives upon you, for better or for worse. And he’ll do it with inimitable style.

Other titles I’ve read and can recommend by Neil Gaiman:

I’ll have a review coming soon on Anansi Boys!

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