By: Neil Gaiman
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night. . . .
In a Hugo Award–winning story, a great detective must solve a most unsettling royal murder in a strangely altered Victorian England. . . .
Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams—and nightmares. . . .
These marvelous creations and more showcase the unparalleled invention and storytelling brilliance—as well as the terrifyingly dark and entertaining sense of humor—of the incomparable Neil Gaiman. By turns delightful, disturbing, and diverting, Fragile Things is a gift of literary enchantment from one of the most original writers of our time.
At long last I’ve picked up one of Neil Gaiman’s short stories collection; I had been eyeing them for some time, especially as I’ve been reading a lot of short story collections in the past year. I’ve enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s full-length works, whether they be novels or graphic novels, so I was also curious to see how he fared with shorter works.
Firstly, what is interesting about this collection is that it’s a pretty varied mix of short stories, a novella, and poetry. I knew that Neil Gaiman wrote in different media but the poetry was a first for me, and it was pretty interesting, the stories it convey very much in the same vein as his storytelling: unique, fairy-tale-like with a streak of darkness and danger and mystery. I appreciated the set-up of this book, the poetry (and especially short stories–those less than 10 pages long) punctured between the longer stories to create a bit of a resting space before jumping into the next story.
The stories themselves were a mix variety of dark and foreboding, mysterious and fantastical, a dash of science fiction here and there. Some where more memorable than others–“October in a Chair”, “How Do You Think it Feels?”, “Closing Time”–and some were quite chilling, which made it perfect to read right before Hallowe’en. And to my surprise, at the end of this collection is an American Gods (review) novella set after the events of the book following what Shadow did afterwards. So that was pretty cool 🙂
Overall Fragile Things was a whimsical, odd, and fascinating read, with stories one would expect from Neil Gaiman. Like any short story collection, it can be a bit of a mixed bag with some stories more interesting and memorable than others depending on what grabs your attention the most. Do I recommend this collection if you haven’t read anything by Neil Gaiman? Mmm, maybe if you’re into short stories, but if not maybe it’s best to try one of his full-length works first (here’s my list of recommendations on where to start). But otherwise it’s definitely a book to check out around Hallowe’en or if you’re in the mood for something different or eerie.