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Book Review < Back

The Sandman: Brief Lives (vol. 7)

Credits: Written by Neil Gaiman and Illustrated by Jill Thompson and Vince Locke
Publisher: Vertigo (DC)


I'm not much of a re-reader, in general. Once I've finished a book that's pretty much the end of the mystery for me and I want to move on to something that can surprise me. There are exceptions, of course - books so dense with ideas or so well crafted that I'm compelled to revisit them and always surprised by what I missed on the last pass. The SANDMAN books - all of them - are re-readers.

BRIEF LIVES, the most linear volume of the bunch, is the one I find myself pulling off the shelf and re-reading when I'd only meant to find a particular quote or look up a panel that was on my mind for one reason or another. My husband described it as a "road movie" and I wish I'd said that. It is; the narrative follows Dream and Delirium across the waking world as they search for their spirited brother, Destruction.

Like all good road movies, BRIEF LIVES is a treatise on change, and like the best, it works on as many levels as the number of times I've considered it. Destruction abandoned the world because he didn't want to bear the mantle of responsibility for the changes he saw coming; destruction is construction is change. Change, Delirium knows, is "the thing that lets you know that time is happening." Changes are road markers on the journey through our lives, our brief lives.

-- Kelly Sue DeConnick

Kelly Sue DeConnick relocated from Brooklyn, New York to Kansas City, MO, where she lives with her husband and artbomb.net colleague, Matt Fraction. Kelly Sue writes the English adaptations of several manga titles published by Tokyopop and Viz. She can be found on the web at kellysue.com.


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