The Sandmanby Neil Gaiman
New York city girl Barbie has recently gotten divorced from Ken and is living in a shabby tenement building with a group of odd women. There's a lesbian couple, her friend Wanda who used to be a man, and a decidedly creepy guy named George upstairs. Oh, and the most demure-looking lady of the bunch is Thessaly, but she turns out to be one of the most aggressive characters in the whole story. Barbie doesn't seem to have any particular goals in her life, but her dream world is becoming more vivid, bursting into her real life as she herself sinks deeper into the dream (where she's a princess on a quest, of course). When her friends realize she's trapped in the dream-world they make efforts to follow her and bring her back, with completely unexpected consequences. There's a wicked little girl, a mysterious villain called the Cuckoo, some friends who are turncoats and others who stay true... and in the end Sandman himself makes an appearance.
This is the sixth Sandman book I've read. And hm, it didn't quite work for me again. It was just such a strange story. A lot of it didn't feel cohesive to me. The part about Wanda who stayed behind in the real world to keep watch was probably the most interesting to me, but it also had a lot to do with gender identity, an issue I'm not very familiar in reading about. The story overall had quite a lot of gruesome parts too, which doesn't sit well with me. I found the whole thing rather dissatisfying and a bit confusing. I'm willing to press on and try the next Sandman volume, though- unless there's a lot more gore in further volumes. Anyone? give me a heads-up, please!
Readers interested in Sandman, please take a look at some of the other bloggers I linked to below. They give a much more thorough idea of this book and its concepts than I could.
rating: 2/5 ........ 192 pages, 1992 ........ find it at Powell's Books or on Amazon
new readers start here
The Incurable Bluestocking