Mostly, I love Neil Gaiman. I always get that sense of a dark, deep mystery being solved when I read one of his books. He taps into the parts of our brains that live on mythology and stories, and mostly nails it.
I read his comics first (Books of Magic and Sandman), so I’ll always love them the best. His short stories are a close second, and Trigger Warning is mostly fantastic.
I say “mostly” in the instances above because I’ve never unequivocally loved anything Gaiman has done, though I come pretty close. It has to do with his endings.
I thought the revelation at the end of American Gods was a mean trick. And I wanted to see a fight between Dream and the Furies, and instead Death takes him with the touch of a finger, and that bothers me. On a deep level. Especially because it would not be wrong to say that Sandman saved my life in high school.
But this problem of ending rarely appears in his short fiction. Gaiman’s stories exhibit a playful, experimental quality, almost as if he’s winking at you knowingly from the page.
Trigger Waring: Short Fictions and Disturbances is aptly named. These are dark tales, told with unpleasant imagery. Not every story is amazing (“A Calendar of Tales” felt particularly weak to me), but even the average ones are unnerving.
I love “The Thing About Cassandra” and “My Last Landlady” for the way the mysteries slowly unravel–or deepen–with each vivid word.
I also love how Gaiman includes both fiction and poetry in his short story collections. The poems provide a nice break from the prose (not that you really need a break from the prose) and serve to intensify the whole collection.
This is definitely a book that will keep you up past your bedtime reading, and then thinking about what you’ve just read.