“Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders” by Neil Gaiman

Over the past two months, I’ve been participating in a groupread of Neil Gaiman’s “Fragile Things,” as a part of the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge, hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings.  For those of you who haven’t been following along, this is a spoiler-free review of the book.

This book was the first time that I’ve read any of Gaiman’s work.  I think that it’s a nice way of being introduced to him, as it allows the reader to experience a great variety of his stories and poems, which range in tone from being lighthearted and whimsical to focusing on darker adult themes.  As it’s hard to give an overall synopsis of a collection of short stories, I’m going to go over some of the highlights of the collection.

“The Problem With Susan” – This was a short story that answered the question of what happened to Susan from C. S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” after he abruptly cut her out of the story for being interested in boys and makeup.

“October in the Chair” – In this story, the months of the year are personified and sitting around a campfire.  October tells an eerie ghost story.

“The Monarch of the Glen” – The longest piece in the collection, this novella is set in Gaiman’s American Gods universe.  It tells the story of a character named Shadow as he visits Scotland.  It’s got Viking/Beowulf mythology, which was pretty neat.

“The Day the Saucers Came” – This poem was an awesome nerd-out.  It made me happy.

“Locks” – A poem about a father telling his child about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

These are just a few of the selections in the book that stood out to me.  There are many more interesting stories, as well as the handful of stories that I didn’t care for.  As a whole, the stories tend to be well-written and cast an interesting perspective on mythology, legends, and fairy tales, as well as day to day life.  These stories are best enjoyed with a cup of coffee on lazy autumn mornings.

Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror/Gothic, Short Stories | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on ““Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders” by Neil Gaiman

  1. Pingback: Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman « Bundleofbooks

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  4. Hi Grace! Like you I haven’t read any of his works either. Carl has been encouraging me to pick some up. I’m tempted. So glad you liked the group read. Several people have suggested that I read American Gods. I hope school is going well!

    • Thanks! I’m probably going to read Stardust eventually (I still have a big stack from Borders closing!). It sounds like my kind of book.

      How’s England?

  5. This looks like something I might have to read! I’ve never read anything by Neil Gaiman and if you think this is a good was to start, I think I’ll buy it when I do my next Amazon shop!

    (I’m especially looking forward to The Problem with Susan. I always felt very let down in the last book about how she disappeared from the series with only one sentence of explanation!)

    • Me too. I couldn’t see her forgetting being a queen of Narnia, or even how to shoot a bow for that matter.

      I liked the collection as a starting point because there’s such a variety present in the short stories and poems that Gaiman writes. I didn’t care for all of them, but I liked seeing the range of his work. I also recommend reading the introduction, as he throws a hidden short story into it.

  6. Wow, I can’t believe you have never read anything by him before. I really enjoyed Stardust, Neverwhere, and The Graveyard Book by him. Stardust was my first read. I still haven’t managed to finish American Gods or start Anansi Boys. I know lots of people love them, though.

    • It’s weird, because I had heard for some time that he was fantastic. I just never got around to it…

  7. I love Gaiman, I will have to check this out for sure.

    • I should probably at some point read one of his novels. Which would you recommend?

      • American Gods, of course! Stardust would also be a good choice if you’re a Gaiman fan.

        • Stardust looks interesting!

          I’ve got some negative associations with Smith and Mr. Alice after reading one of the stories in this collection… I want them to be likable villains rather than abhorrent examples of the worst of humanity.

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