May 21, 2012

The Doll's House

The Sandman
by Neil Gaiman

It took me some time to finally get through this one. I was unsure at first if I wanted to continue reading Sandman at all but some of your comments convinced me it was worth the effort. I found I had to be in the right frame of mind to read this stuff, it can be pretty dark. I find it really interesting that the main character who ties all this stuff together, the Sandman himself (who has so many different names!) usually isn't central to the stories. He comes in at the end, or on the side, as someone consulted or who shows up to solve problems. Then it turns out that he is the crux of what happens, but the main character is actually usually someone else. If that makes any sense at all.

Well, as far as I can follow, Doll's House has two stories that stand alone, and others that tie into previous Sandman volumes and follow a common theme. These are about a girl Rose Walker whose mother was born to a woman unaware of her existence because she was a victim of the "sleepy sickness" (told of in Preludes and Nocturnes) and Rose herself, though she doesn't know it- is a dream vortex. Some parts are a muddle to me, but what's clear is that Rose ends up living in a tenement house with some very strange fellow tenants in the other rooms. In one storyline she's trying to find her brother who's disappeared, and in another the hotel she's in (while searching for her brother) gets turned over to a convention for serial killers (very bizarre, but also humorous in a dark way). Rose isn't aware of her powers, but she starts warping the dreams of those around her, dissolving the borders between dreams and reality and of course Sandman himself has to step in and set things right.

The other two stories I liked better. "Tales in the Sand" is of a woman named Nada, a queen of ancient times who was wooed by the Dream King. After discovering his true identity and that to be with him she'd have to enter his realm, she spurns him and in a rage he condemns her to Hell. The other story "Men of Good Fortune" was my favorite. Morpheus (the Dream Lord) visits a tavern in medieval times and hears a man Hobb proclaiming that he never intends to die. Amused, Dream grants the man his wish, and arranges to meet him once every century from that time forward. The story shows their meetings throughout several ages. It was interesting to see how Morpheus' attire and hairstyle changed to fit the different times, but he was still recognizably himself. Overall I found the stories in this volume a bit more intriguing, if sometimes also disturbing.

rating: 3/5 ........ 232 pages, 1989

more opinions:
Geeker Joy
Book Bloggy Blog
Reading in Winter


Chris said...

Oh I'm so glad you read this!!! I love The Doll's House!! I love the whole Sandman continues to be a bit disturbing at times, but it's by far my favorite graphic novel series written. Gaiman just really had a gem with that series. And Death has to be one of my all time favorite characters.

Biblibio said...

"Men of Good Fortune" is definitely one of those great stories, and it's also comfortably one that can be given to readers unfamiliar with the Sandman. Hobb's a wonderful character and one of my favorites throughout the series. I'm glad you gave the Sandman another chance! It requires some patience, but overall the series is certainly worth it.

Jenny said...

Ah, I love "Men of Good Fortune"! I love it how that story remains a thru-line in the entire series -- you don't see it often, but you see it regularly. This is a feature I admire about Sandman.