So what do I have for you today?
It’s Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things: Short Stories and Wonders published in 2006.
Let’s take a look at the synopsis before I delve into things…
A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night, taking one of the spectators along with it . . . In a novella set two years after the events of American Gods, Shadow pays a visit to an ancient Scottish mansion, and finds himself trapped in a game of murder and monsters . . . In a Hugo Award-winning short story set in a strangely altered Victorian England, the great detective Sherlock Holmes must solve a most unsettling royal murder . . . Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams—and nightmares . . . In a Locus Award-winning tale, the members of an exclusive epicurean club lament that they’ve eaten everything that can be eaten, with the exception of a legendary, rare, and exceedingly dangerous Egyptian bird . . . Such marvelous creations and more—including a short story set in the world of The Matrix, and others set in the worlds of gothic fiction and children’s fiction—can be found in this extraordinary collection, which showcases Gaiman’s storytelling brilliance as well as his terrifyingly entertaining dark sense of humor. By turns delightful, disturbing, and diverting, Fragile Things is a gift of literary enchantment from one of the most unique writers of our time.
So what are my thoughts?
I loved it. I love the ever-present but ever-changing voice that Gaiman has achieved in his writing. You know it’s a Neil Gaiman story but that doesn’t make it a carbon copy of the others you already love. Each of the stories had been published previously but they are collected together for the first time to give you a brief but heady glimpse into the writing of Neil Gaiman. Most of the stories have a serious, if not dark, tone but there are moments of humour, levity, and fantasy thrown in for good measure. And the collection is read by Gaiman himself so you are treated to the inflection and emphasis the author himself intended – something we don’t often get in other audiobooks.
Of the collection, all stories and poems were good but a few stuck with me so I figured I’d mention them. October in the Chair reminded me a little of nights gathered around the campfire, each of us telling stories in an attempt to outdo the ones who had gone before us. I loved the idea of gargoyles guarding the heart in How Do You Think It Feels?. The poem Instructions was enjoyable as I’ve always wondered what I should do if I ever got stuck in a fairy-tale and now I know. The professional epidemiological structure of Diseasemaker’s Croup was so different and appealing that I’ll likely seek out the anthology it was written for (The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases, edited by Drs. Jeff VanDerMeer Mark Roberts) and pick it up.
If you like Neil Gaiman and haven’t picked this one up, I’d highly recommend it. If you haven’t read anything by Gaiman, this is a great place to start.
Rating: 5 out of 5