01st Aug2014

Book Review: ‘The Art of Neil Gaiman’

by Paul Metcalf

Written by Hayley Campbell | Published by Ilex | Format: Hardcover, 320pp


Neil Gaiman is an author I’ve always respected and he is obviously a fan favourite, my problem is I’ve never really found the time to read much of his stuff.  His influence on Doctor Who and on Coraline, a movie I love has always made me want to take the time to venture into some of his work like Sandman, and I’m sure I will.  For now though I took the time to delve into his work with The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell.

Campbell doesn’t hide the fact that she is a close friend of Gaiman and at the start there is a feeling that the book could turn just a little too cosy in style, showing us just how amazing Campbell’s friend Neil is.  Thankfully this feeling doesn’t last long, and to be fair does appear to be her way of showing just how much she loves his work.  The feeling grows infectious the more you read about his life and just what he has worked on because you see how varied and impressive his work is.  The fact is I was surprised just how many things I truly love that he has had a hand in.

Looking through The Art of Neil Gaiman you see a man who is a fan of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, who has worked with people like Alan Moore, Terry Pratchett and is a friend of Clive Barker.  His style is influence and very much like their work and he gives off this aura of being a part of the punk fringe of the literary world.  I have to admit just reading the man’s own words that are put into the book through interviews, it is hard not to fall in love with the idea of who he truly is.

The image you get of Neil Gaiman is that he is a writer who understands dreams and what it is to be a child.  Take Coraline for example, the film is one I truly do love, just sitting through that film you see so many nightmarish but impressively amusing scenes that it must come from a truly warped mind.  This taps into not only childish fantasies but also the nostalgia adults have of the time when they were children too, and taps at that part of us that never wants to grow up.

The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell is a book for not only the fans of Gaiman himself, but also fans of fantasy as well be it in book, comic, film, television, radio or theatre form.  This is the man who has written some of the best Doctor Who episodes in recent years and has shown an understanding of what the fans want.  In The Art of Neil Gaiman we not only get to read about his thoughts on his work but also get a glimpse of the art that is connected to it, and the authors own notes.  This is a glimpse into the world of a man who I consider as one of the writers who truly understands a whole generation of fans, and beyond.  It’s hard to define the age range of people who adore his work because of the aim of his work, and that is the beauty of it.

If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman you will love The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell, if you are somebody who just wants to understand what all the fuss is about you’ll also find the book interesting.  I’m sure we’ll never understand what truly goes on in his head and what gives him the ability to do what he does, but Campbell manages to give her writing a feeling of closeness with the writer that at least gives us a feeling that we are getting a nice teaser into just who he is.

The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell is available now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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