Reading this collection is a journey into the mind of a writer, a revelation of unexpected questions, and a thought-provoking quest for answers. Along the way, Gaiman offers lessons on how to listen, how to read, and how to value honest writing ... This book is a study in the power of observation. It brings to light Gaiman’s attention to language, to literature, and to everything that makes up a cultural life.
Broken up into sections — 'What I Believe,' 'Music and the People Who Make It,' 'Some People I Have Known,' 'Make Good Art,' and so on — his musings shine with wit, understatement, and a warm lack of pretention ... As these sorts of odds-and-ends collections typically are, View is a mixed bag, both in subject matter and quality ... Together these assorted tidbits form a mosaic — a composite picture of Gaiman as a writer, but also as a thinker, a cult figure, and barometer of genre fiction's trends and sentiments over the past 20-odd years. Not to mention an unassuming guy who just so happens to be a brilliant, best-selling author. As such, View is not only invaluable, but engrossing.
The collected nature of the book works both for and against Gaiman. For those interested in the mechanics of writing, much can be gleaned from his takes on other writers. And the insight into the writer’s mind when his work is taken collectively is invaluable. For those who are simply fans, the collection also acts as a great jumping-off point to the branching cadre of his influences ... The View From The Cheap Seats is a book best taken piecemeal. When taken as a collective, some trends that hurt it emerge. The essays—especially the transcripts of speeches—retread some of the same thematic territory, making it feel repetitive and long. And for those not as invested in the craft of writing, the redundancies, especially early in the collection, have the ability to make Cheap Seats feel a little boring, if only temporarily so.