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The Sandman, Vol. 10 : The Wake, Neil Gaiman

2012/10/03

Neil Gaiman has not been one of those authors that I tend to enjoy; despite it being highly recommended by friends, I struggled through “American Gods.” I found “The Graveyard Books” to be eerie and creepy. But after reading the same quote on love from “The Kindly Ones” over and over, I decided that I should probably have some context for it, and started tracking down the ten volumes. Of course, no one library in any of the nearby systems had all of them, and so I ended up reading book nine first, then the rest in proper order as I found them.

As someone who has attended a fair number of funerals in the past year, and in years prior, “The Wake” is a glorious closure to Morpheus’s story. The dissemination of the news, the preparations made for the wake and the funeral, the stages of grief displayed across characters from throughout Dream’s reign, the struggles for those left behind. And since this is a story, threads are tied up, conclusions are wrought, plays are drawn to an end. Dream has not always been a sympathetic character throughout the books, but his eulogies by the Raven and Bast, are such that one would be honored to have spoken at their memorial.

I have not read extensively in the graphic novel genre, and I’m not even very good with the visual form of media (TV, movies, music videos, video games, etc), probably due to my reliance on text-based forms of entertainment. I am wary of graphic violence and horror; even reading a Stephen King novel pushes the bounds of my comfort zone. So I went into this experience knowing that “The Sandman” wasn’t going to be an easy read. There is violence, sex, language, and horror aplenty in the series, but there is also beauty, truth, existentialism, poetry, life, and death. Of the series, volumes seven, nine, and ten definitely stood out as the ones that packed the most emotional punches, mostly due to their shared storylines of mortality, even for the Endless.

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