Sunday, 16 September 2007

Chivalry - SS Sunday

I'm too absorbed in The Historian to spend too much time on short stories for the RIP II challenge, today, but I did want to read one in particular. It was Chivalry by Neil Gaiman from his anthology, Smoke and Mirrors. Christina at I Heart Paperbacks and Deslily at Here, There and Everywhere reviewed this one and it sounded fun so I read it this morning.



Chivalry is a simple little tale about Mrs Whitaker, an oap who buys a chalice from the local Oxfam charity shop. Not accidently, she knows what it is - it's the Holy Grail - and so does the chap who turns up on her doorstep the next day. He's wearing a suit of armour and his horse is outside, nibbling Mrs Whitaker's gladioli...

If you need a bit of cheering up, this is a good story to choose. I laughed and laughed - not because it was hysterically funny but because our quirky little ways in the UK are so beautifully observed. I believe the author now lives in The States but it's clear he's been into one or two UK charity shops in his time.

"The (Oxfam) shop was staffed by volunteers. The volunteer on duty this afternoon was Marie, seventeen, slightly overweight, and dressed in a baggy mauve jumper that looked like she had bought it from the shop."

Now, own up, we've all met her haven't we? ;-p

'Joyous' is all I can say. The only Gaimans I've read are Stardust and Good Omens. I've very little experience of his short stories apart from the one he wrote for Shadows Over Baker Street which was very good too. He's clearly an author I ought to pay a lot more attention to and I'm certainly going to read the rest of the tales in this book. 'After' The Historian...

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A quick tech question. Would anybody have any idea why some of the text in my blog is now turning up in German? For instance the line about the use of 'html' under the comment box. I have my language settings set to UK English so I'm a bit bemused by this.

6 comments:

Christina said...

I'm so glad you liked the story! Neil Gaiman is just delightful! :)

DesLily said...

good to see I wasn't the only one amused by this Gaiman short story!

Chris said...

Glad you enjoyed it :) I love that story, and I suspect that you'll love the rest of Smoke and Mirrors just as much if not more! Gaiman is a wonderful writer...right up there in my top 3. I read everything the man writes and I'm never disappointed.

I'm currently wrapped up in The Historian too and it's just an amazing book, isn't it? I have a little less than 200 pages left and I don't want it to end...but at the same time, it's eating up all of my RIP time :p

Cath said...

Christina: I loved the story. It gave me such a laugh - so beautifully observed.

Deslily: The story really tickled my funny bone. His observations of us Brits was so spot on.

Chris: I'm really planning to get into Gaiman's writing next year, along with a few other authors. I need a 2008 plan. :-)

I've only read about 150 pages of The Historian but I'm hooked already. Yes, it takes a while to read, mainly, I think, because it's style of writing you can't rush through. I can't see me finishing for at least a week. Oh well, I'm sure I'll read my four books for the RIP 2 challenge, but I *was* hoping to get through a few more.

Booklogged said...

I may have to get my hands on this book of short stories. The one you talked about sounds delightful.

Eva said...

I loved this short story! It was in my top three from that book. :)