Lately I've been wondering whether the time for fairy tales has long passed us by. Of course there are plenty of fantasy novels, but it is uncommonly rare to stumble upon a genuine fairy tale, composed entirely of stardust and heartfelt dreams. When a book ends with the phrase "happily ever after" it feels more like a mockery than a true sentiment. Apparently people have stopped believing in the magic a simple tale can inflict.
"There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire....
With these thoughts in mind, try to imagine my joy when I read the opening words of Gaiman's "Stardust". To once again read a true fairy tale, revolving around the classical theme of a young man's quest to win the heart of his beloved, was a delight beyond comparison.
"Stardust" is certainly an adult fairy tale, with several violent scenes, swearing and even sexual content. But it is a fairy tale nevertheless, and it is filled with ancient magic and highly imaginative creations, such as unicorns, witches and enchantments - along with talking trees and falling stars.
“He wondered how it could have taken him so long to realize he cared for her, and he told her so, and she called him an idiot, and he declared that it was the finest thing that ever a man had been called.
The writing is utterly beautiful and extremely convincing. The words are an odd mix of traditional fairy tale elements and modern expressions - and the result is something truly unique. The dialogues are witty, the descriptions are whimsical and the final message is very endearing and hopeful. The book seems simply to underline the importance of trusting your heart - even when everything else is against you. A universal truth concealed in a star woven fairy tale.
“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.