My family and I went to the cinema when the film came out; I remember it being a thoroughly enjoyable experience. We went out for dinner beforehand, as was usually the case. It was a nice movie, a funny little fairy tale with a sweet ending. So, when Stardust was chosen as last month’s book, I felt quite enthusiastic.
I like a book which captures my interested long enough for me to ignore time or responsibility, Stardust is not that book. My excitement dwindled as I struggled to find time to read. Life got in the way of spare time. I eventually managed to get hold of an audio book so that I could at least listen as I commuted, tidied, organised and planned. As an expat (with nut-brown hair, and nut-brown eyes, and nut-brown freckles), I do appreciate fantastical stories set in Britain; a nationwide hankering for escapism is an interesting thought. The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland and other books which allow us to access worlds deemed strange and unusual when compared to our own often still possess an air of familiarity. Whether accessed through a hole, a tree, a wall, a door, a looking glass or a wardrobe, all such stories enable us to imagine what could be.
The book is much more adult than the film, almost unnecessarily so. That being said, I feel as though had I read this as a teenager as opposed to reading it as an adult, I may have found the story more agreeable. We’re introduced to characters at the start of the book that seem only to exist in order to give us some background into how Tristran was brought into the world. Tristran Thorn (and Yvaine)’s adventures are relatively interesting but their overall relationship struck me as naive and a little strange. I didn’t like Victoria and Tristran’s relationship either, although Victoria’s reactions to Tristran seemed more realistic than the reactions of Yvaine. Perhaps it has something to do with Yvaine being a fallen star? It was easy for me to imagine Wall but Faerie could’ve done with more of a description as I struggled to envisage it as a location. I found the witches to be more absorbing as characters and their surroundings easier to picture.
Even though this wasn’t my favourite book, it wasn’t the worst I’ve ever read. It’s a fast paced fantasy, complete with lions, unicorns, mutton stew and pots of Shepard’s pie thrown in for good measure.
The audio book read by Neil Gaiman is about six and a half hours long.
If you're interested in taking part in the Infinite Variety Book Club: click here. If you would like to purchase a copy of Stardust: click here. This month’s book is Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini.