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Okay so I think this one is my favourite Neil Gaiman story. Read outside on a beautiful March day, it was like drifting into a weird dream, where not everything is comfy, some things are downright scary, but you trust absolutely that you’re in safe hands.

A young man returning home for a funeral has a sudden yearning to visit an isolated farm that he remembers from his childhood. Wasn’t there something odd about the duckpond? And the young girl who lived there – Lettie – whatever happened to her? And then he remembers…. The three women at the farm have always been there, ever since the Big Bang. And when creatures from beyond threatened his family, it was the women who battled them, with his help… And nothing was ever really normal again.

The imagery in this story is striking and memorable (aagh, the foot-worm!), and the way in which Gaiman builds up this magical tale enmeshed with the detail of everyday reality is breathtaking. It’s definitely one to read again and again, to delight in the precision of his words and the surety of his worlds. I’d been looking forward to reading it for ages, and it was one to savour, and it didn’t disappoint. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a film version at some point in the future – it would sit well in the style of the animated Coraline, another of his masterpieces.

And just to make a point – I borrowed this from my local public library. I’m sure Neil would approve.

Headline, 2013, ISBN 9781472200310

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