Book Review: The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman, Eddie Campbell

the truth is a cave in the black mountains #gaimanYou ask me if I can forgive myself?
I can forgive myself…

…for many things. For where I left him.
For what I did

And so begins The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains, a haunting story of family, the otherworld, and a search for hidden treasure. This gorgeous full-colour illustrated book version was born of a unique collaboration between New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman and renowned artist Eddie Campbell, who brought to vivid life the characters and landscape of Gaiman’s award-winning story. In this volume, the talents and vision of two great creative geniuses come together in a glorious explosion of colour and shadow, memory and regret, vengeance and, ultimately, love.

Written in 2010, initially as a spoken word piece to be performed in Sydney Opera House (with paintings and music in the background), this has been taken forward with original and additional paintings from Eddie Campbell. It’s not quite “picture book” and not quite “graphic novel” but a mixture of several types of delivery.  Some of the illustrations appear to have been originally rendered in oils (I could be wrong) as they seem to have a specific texture about them you can feel off the page….

Set on the Isle of Skye in Scotland a long time ago, a dwarf visits Calum MacInnes who knows the location of a cave far away in the mountains – a cave that contains gold to make a man rich for a lifetime. There is still some resentment about the English king, and a hope that the Scottish King would return and overthrow the foreigners……The Dwarf persuades the man to become a guide to said cave, which takes several days to reach there. Neither man trusts the other, and the fear of the cave makes for several attempts at double cross along the way. Ultimately we see why the dwarf wants to go to the cave, and that the previous visit by the guide has resulted in the curse coming true – after a fashion.

Neither men come out of the story a winner, and the women who are included dont fair very well either but this is not a fairytale happy ending kind of book. This is NOT suitable for young(er) children – there are some images and ideas that I wouldn’t want them getting access to – give them “Wolves in the Walls” or “The day I swapped my dad for two goldfish” by the same author instead.

Reviews of books by the same author that you might be interested in:
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman, Dave Mckean

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman


2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman, Eddie Campbell

    • Gaiman wrote “Coraline” for his daughter Maddie, after she wanted a scary story as a 5 year old and he couldnt find one written by someone else, so ended up writing it himself!

      Liked by 1 person

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