As I marked the last lines of the book in light blue felt pen, I could not help but liken the colour of the ink to the star’s eyes. I swallowed and exhaled.
Never had I felt this sad for a book to end. Although I read it in intervals, this story was a journey I did not want to complete. This was my commute book. I would find a seat in a crowded bus, plug my earphones and let myself be swept into Faerie., closing out all the noise and traffic, while on my way to work or back from it.
What’s the book about?
Stardust is a story of an 18-year-old lovestruck village boy, who embarks on a journey to fulfil a daft promise he makes to the lady he loves. To bring her a fallen star. What ensues is a fast-paced, dramatic, surreal-yet-real tale of events that keep the reader engaged, completely transporting them to the world of Faerie!
There is an odd amount of science to this fable. The story feels like it could be dabbling with the theory of relativity. Where nine years pass in the village of Wall, it only feels like a few weeks, or months in Faerie for the reader.
Gaiman highlights character changes subtly. All his main characters undergo soft transformations without really losing their core – just the way we alter in real life.
Both infatuation and true love were given distinct roles in the book. Each was differentiated and underscored with strong references. While a few chapters were dedicated to foolish squandering of efforts for a fleeting idea of romance, several others were invested on paving the road to true love.
Seriously though, a fairytale?
Stardust is a fairy tale, for adults. I resonate with Gaiman’s reference to Tolkien’s analogy of fairytales being like old furniture. When you have old furniture in the house, you sometimes re-paint them and push them into the nursery for children to use. Apparently, the Brothers Grimm (writers of the most popular fairy tales), first wrote those stories for adults as folklore! But as time passed and the stories grew on adults, they tweaked the tales and made them kid-friendly, where they remain immortalized – in the nursery!
Stardust has no happily-ever-after. It has heartbreak, scheming, revenge, sacrifice and death. And all of that put in the most natural of ways possible. One of my favourite things about the book was the way Gaiman personified voices of the dead by the sounds of nature.
Neil Gaiman’s “Stardust” is sheer pleasure. His imagination is remarkable, the characters believable – even for a fairytale. The color of faerie, the fragrance of its characters, the touch of its wisdom – it is ethereal. Spellbinding!
I would want to pass this book on as an heirloom to the people I shall love the most.