I'm a fan of Neil Gaiman: I read his books, read his blog, and follow his Twitter feed. So when he starts mentioning this Amanda Palmer chick, links to her music videos, and extols both her talents as a musician and her creative nature in general, I decided I should pay attention. I did a little research of my own, learned more about Miss Palmer, but ultimately I was still left with the one question we all have, the only question that matters: who killed Amanda Palmer?
This book is beautiful in a very dark, sometimes disconcerting way. Palmer and Gaiman may be two of the people most suited to creating works of twisted fantasy, where everything reminds you of classic or urban myths but is just a tiny bit off, just a little skewed. They've teamed up, along with talented photographers, to create a book that's breathtaking and eerie.
It's easy to say, "Let's do a whole book of photos of me, only dead." In fact, it's downright narcissistic. Yet the sheer variety of ways in which Amanda Palmer dies is disturbingly fascinating. Some of them are conventional, others are highly improbable; all of them look real. This book confronts that essential part of our humanity that's dark, the part of us that scares us--not everything is sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.
Gaiman's accompanying text is, as always, imaginative. My favourite, accompanying a photo of Amanda Palmer killed by a typewriter falling on her head, is the conversation between a novelist and his companion in a hot-air balloon.... Interspersed with Gaiman's short tales are the lyrics to the album of the same name. Although I haven't bought the album yet, anyone who has will treasure this book, if only as an illustrated lyrical companion. It is, of course, so much more.
I think the best phrase to summarize my review would be this: I bought it for the Neil but stayed for the Amanda.