Fragile Things Groupread, Part 4

(Edit:  I’m trying to join Technorati, and they want me to paste a code into a blog post.  Just ignore this… ATR242Q35E4G ).

Welcome to week four of the groupread of Neil Gaiman’s “Fragile Things.”  I am late to posting this yet again, because this semester is turning out to be busy.  As with last week, I’ll still visit everyone’s blogs over the next day or two.

The art to the left is the Russian cover for “Fragile Things.”  I rather like it, as it presents the feel of the book rather well.

And the requisite spoiler advisory… *The following content may contain spoilers.*

Good Boys Deserve Favors

“You know, this one time at band camp…”  I enjoyed this one.  It reminded me a bit of the time in grade school that I thought I wanted to play the flute, at which point I quickly discovered that flutes tend to give me headaches unless they are a part of 60s era psychedelic music, but that is a different story entirely.  I was one of those kids who pretended to play an instrument, much as the narrator does.  I like the almost supernatural power that Gaiman attaches to creativity when the boy plays something phenomenal without even knowing what he’s doing.  It’s an experience that most artists get every now and again… as if one is channeling their art from another source, rather than consciously creating it.

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch

Where can I meet Miss Finch?  She sounds eccentric and awesome.  I can picture her roaming around London flanked by her saber-toothed kitties, and I pity anyone who manages to get on her bad side.

Strange Little Girls

This one was a bit of a miss for me.  Granted, I haven’t listened to the Tori Amos album that it was written to accompany, so I don’t think that I got the full experience.  I think it would have been better if I felt a larger overarching point, rather than just a collection of personality types.  At the same time, it reminds me of a game some friends and I used to play in college, where we would look out our window and make up stories/personalities for the people below.

Harlequin Valentine

I’m not sure what to think about this one.  It’s quite clever.  I enjoyed Gaiman’s tale of the Harlequin falling in love with a mortal woman, only to be tricked into trading roles with her.  At the same time, I tried to read this story while eating, and the whole cannibalism thing made me lose my appetite.

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed this week’s stories a lot more than last week’s.  I think that Miss Finch was my favorite, although it was hard to decide.  I’m looking forward to next week’s discussion, as there are two poems coming up!

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Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror/Gothic, Short Stories | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Fragile Things Groupread, Part 4

  1. I want to meet Miss Finch, too!

    • She seems like such an awesome character… makes me wonder if she was based on someone he knew.

  2. Blast, wordpress ate my comment! It was state dependent too, because I’m in London and no sign of Miss Finch…

  3. It’s late at night and I’m sitting in London with the windows open listening out for Miss Finch and the sabre-tooths. I haven’t heard them yet but maybe when the traffic dies down a bit (maybe by that time I’ll have had another glass of whisky and I *will* hear them – oops!).

    LOL, it was violins that gave me headaches. I wish I could tap into that sensation of music flowing just right, or anything else creative, but I’m strictly an observer – it’s a wonderful description, though, of a phenomenon I can see happening but don’t experience, and a small vicarious pleasure.

    • I hope Miss Finch shows up! =D

    • I would be doing the same thing were I in London, keeping an eye out for Miss Finch, for the circus, and would also be hoping to step back in time a bit to have a drink the Diogenes Club.

  4. I have a hard time deciding on a favorite from this week’s selections too. I adore Miss Finch, but I have a soft spot for Good Boys and for Harlequin Valentine as well. They each reach out to me in different ways.

    I like your comparison of Strange Little Girls to the game of making up stories about people. I think it is an apt comparison and had I looked at it more that way I would have enjoyed it. What really makes me sad is that I am a fan of Tori Amos and I so wish Neil had written little scenes for some of her songs that I love rather than this album that I am fairly indifferent to.

    Sad that I cannot see the word “flute” now without thinking of the American Pie films. Your ‘band camp’ line was fun!

    I don’t think I’d want to be reading HV while eating, or at least not while eating meat.

    I would actually like to meet Miss Finch myself. I’m sure she would intimidate the heck out of me although the way she was described I felt instantly fascinated by her. I would want to quickly turn the conversation to something she liked, just to see her more animated self.

    • Thankfully I was just eating pumpkin soup while reading HV. Meat would not have gone over well… especially at the point where H eats the bite of his own heart. I mean, cannibalism is one thing, but I get queasy thinking about even animal organs. But, as I said, I did think the story was cool.

      I enjoyed Good Boys way way way more than Flints. I felt like Good Boys had more of an overarching point to it. I think Gaiman did a good job of demonstrating the different attitudes found in the grade school band room… and every instrument does tend to attract different personalities.

      I don’t know which I’d enjoy more, seeing Miss Finch animated, or seeing her be the stern librarian-type. I agree with what you said on your blog that that really does seem to be her image. I can see her shushing people.

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