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Neil Gaiman's 'Trigger Warnings' sells well, receives positive reviews

Gaiman is the author of such works as 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane,' 'Stardust,' and 'American Gods.'

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    'Trigger Warning' is by Neil Gaiman.
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Neil Gaiman’s fiction collection “Trigger Warning” is starting off well in sales and is also receiving many positive reviews.

“Trigger” was published on Feb. 3 and is the newest work by the author of “American Gods,” “Stardust,” and “Neverwhere,” among other work. The new book, a mix of pieces already published elsewhere and original material, is already selling strongly. It debuted at number three on the IndieBound hardcover fiction list for the week of Feb. 12, behind stalwarts “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr, and is currently at number four on The New York Times hardcover fiction list for the week of Feb. 22.

The book includes short stories and poetry. Gaiman told NPR about the book that, “In some ways, it's me tipping my hat both to the human imaginative facility, the fact that we can imagine, and it's also a way of trying to celebrate aspects of and creatures of and people of the imagination that I've loved. Which is why it contains a Sherlock Holmes short story, which is why it has a tribute to Bradbury, which is why it has a Jack Vance story. There are things in there that are just ways of tipping my hat to things and fictions and acts of imagining that I have loved." 

“Trigger” has so far received mostly positive reviews. NPR critic Jason Sheehan noted of the work, “Almost everything in Trigger Warning has appeared elsewhere … but the odds that you've seen them all, or most, or even any of them before is low…. They are confections, these stories…. Some are substantial … which sprawl a little and wander a little, and – as seems to be Gaiman's tendency – sag a little in the middle…. But others are just tastes. Teases, even. Terrible, haunting, ragged-edged things.”

And Barnes & Noble staff wrote that the book “is worthy of hosannas…. [it] will please all takers”. A reviewer at Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Everything that endears Gaiman … to his legions of fans is on display in this collection of short stories (and the occasional poem): his gift for reimagining ancient tales, his willingness to get down into the dark places, his humor…. Even the weakest of these tales have something to recommend them – an image, a turn of phrase, a mood. And the strongest are truly extraordinary…. [T]his collection will thoroughly satisfy faithful fans and win new ones – if there's anyone out there left unconverted.” 

Meanwhile, Edward Docx of the Observer disliked the poetry included but found other pieces in the book more satisfying.

“Here was another chance – many chances – to discover where the reputation comes from,” Docx wrote of the book. “Let me say this. It’s not from his poetry…. But then things start to get much better…. [T]he story … ‘The Truth is a Cave in The Black Mountains’ … is superb. Well constructed, exquisitely voiced…. And there are more treats in store. The Sleeper and the Spindle is another masterclass…. [T]here is so much that is clever and skilful in among the embarrassments that by the end I was reminded of Paul McCartney, another copiously talented artist, who seems to have no sense of which of his works are breathtakingly good and which breathtakingly bad.”

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