My Cultural Diet

356 reviews of movies, TV shows, books, restaurants, etc. My own private Goodreads, Letterboxd, and Yelp all rolled into one (more info here). Ratings are 100% subjective, non-scientific, and subject to change. May contain affiliate links.

Chivalry by Neil Gaiman, Colleen Doran
The widowed Mrs. Whitaker lives a perfectly ordinary life: tending her garden, having lunch with friends, going to church, collecting her pension. That all changes when she buys the Holy Grail at a local second-hand shop and a gallant knight named Galaad arrives at her door to collect it. Neil Gaiman’s Chivalry — originally published as a short story back in 1992 — is a seemingly slight tale, but like much of his storytelling, there’s more going on below the surface. It’s an obvious and good-natured riff on Arthurian legend, but it’s also a rumination on aging, death, love, grief… you know, the casual topics. It’s also filled with delightfully understated details that spark the imagination. How to explain Mrs. Whitaker’s announcement of the Grail to her friend? What is the significance of Galaad’s geas? Why is Mrs. Whitaker so talented at recognizing magical and arcane objects? Colleen Doran’s watercolors are light and dreamy, which is quite apropos for this playful-yet-bittersweet tale. (Her afterword sheds some light on both her inspiration and process for Chivalry, as well as her own love for Arthurian legend, including Howard Pyle’s classic work.)

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