This book of short stories is a mixed bag, but well worth reading if you've enjoyed Zelazny's other work. Zelazny is the author of the Amber series, which I've read and reviewed here in the past. The stories in Manna From Heaven are drawn from work he published between 1964 and (posthumously) 1996. It concludes with five short pieces that take place in the Amber universe.
In the introduction, writer Steven Brust glows and gushes about Zelazny's genius, praising his ability to "simultaneously confuse and reassure" the reader. I know just what he means! OK, I don't feel quite like Zelazny was a genius, but I have immense respect for his talent, and I get what Brust is saying. I have to admit that a few of the short pieces (they range from a third of a page to 37 pages in length) left me shaking my head, glancing back at various passages, and generally asking "wha'appen?" But I found most of them enjoyable, anyway. It's the journey, and Zelazny isn't afraid to let his readers lose the path and try to find it again.
"Epithalamium" was a fun piece in which we meet an elderly Alice, sent back through the looking glass; I also liked "The Furies," in which three eccentric but oddly gifted individuals join forces to track a fugitive across the planets and capture him... all from the comfort of home.
The concluding Amber pieces were a brief but melancholy last look into this universe sprung from Zelazny's imagination. Each story was interesting and enjoyable, especially "Coming To A Cord," which is told from the perspective of an intelligent, animate, uh, length of string. The Amber stories left me a bit melancholy, though. It was clear that Zelazny had more to say about Amber and its counterpart world, Chaos, and there are hints here at new intrigues, twists and turns that the author would never have the chance to explore. And that is our loss.