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The Sandman Library
by Neil Gaiman
ISBN 1563891387 / 9781563891380 / 1-56389-138-7
Publisher Dc Comics
List price $19.99
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One might think that the climax of the 10-volume Sandman series would come in the last book, or even the second to last. But indeed the heart and soul of Neil Gaiman's magnum opus lies here in Brief Lives. It could be because one of the most central mysteries--that of the Sandman's missing brother--is revealed here (in fact, the plot of this volume is the search for this member of the Endless). It could be because everything that comes after this volume, however surprising or unexpected, is inevitable. But it's more because this is a story about mortality and loss, the difficulty of change, the purpose of remembering, the purpose of forgetting, and the importance of humanity. If you have wanted to find out what all the good buzz on this great comic book series is about and haven't read any Gaiman before, don't be turned off by this volume's pivotal position in the larger story of the Sandman series. This book might actually operate better as a stand-alone story, in that its depth and compassion are more condensed, pure, and brief. --Jim Pascoe [via]