31 Shots of Shock: #25 – ‘Closing Time’ by Neil Gaiman

31 Shots of Shock *Title: Closing Time by Neil Gaiman
Date Read: 25 October 2009
Available Online?: NO
Briefly: The narrator opens this tale by speaking of the Diogenes Club, a back-street drinking establishment which a few members frequent out of normal drinking hours. During one particularly quiet night in the club, the narrator relates the story of when he visited the abandoned Swallow’s Manor-house as a child, with a group of other boys.
Afterthoughts: I’ve been a fan of Neil Gaiman ever since reading The Graveyard Book back in December. So I had really high expectations of this story, which was recommended to me by Tolmsted of Booksexy, as being ‘truly creepy’. I’ve got to admit that my expectations were met, but not entirely. There’s a certain incident in the story that is creepy – truly creepy as Tolmsted says – but overall this story could have been so much more than it was. I felt that the incident that marks the ‘crowning glory’ of this story could have been developed to a greater depth; that perhaps the frame story that surrounds this incident is a bit drawn out and superfluous. That said, this is one tale that all should read, if only to be ‘creeped out’ by that incident. Hehehe..have I piqued your interest enough? 🙂
Notable Quote: My house was not far from the Swallows, a sprawling manor-house set back from the road. It had been owned, my father had told me once, by the Earl of Tenterden, but when he had died his son, the new earl, had simply closed the place up. I had wandered to the edges of the grounds, but had not gone further in. It did not feel abandoned. The gardens were too well cared-for, and where there were gardens there were gardeners. Somewhere there had to be an adult.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

*Story read as part of my 31 Shots of Shock reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. I like the style of the quote, but then, I usually like Gaiman’s.
    Who couldn’t love him after his wonderful partnership with Sir Thierry Pratchett in Good Omens ?

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Well I unexpectedly loved him after reading The Graveyard Book. He’s such an imaginative and versatile writer.