Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders ePUB ã

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders This is a stunning collection of short stories by acclaimed fantasy writer Neil Gaiman His distinctive genius has been championed by writers as diverse as Norman Mailer and Stephen King With The Sandman Neil Gaiman created one of the most sophisticated, intelligent, and influential graphic novel series of our time Now after the recent success of his latest novel Anansi Boys, Gaiman has produced Fragile Things, his second collection of short fiction These stories will dazzle your senses, haunt your imagination, and move you to the very depths of your soul This extraordinary compilation reveals one of the world s most gifted storytellers at the height of his powers I love Neil Gaiman He is brilliant, imaginative, and abso friggin lutely weird, and I love him for it And this book of short stories and prose, Fragile Things , is by far my most favorite compendium of his Fragile Things is a collection of oddities, retellings, poetry, spin offs, and queer creations of Neil Gaiman s colorful imagination Some of the stories have been published elsewhere, like Sunbird and October In The Chair , which were included in his M Is For Magic compil I love Neil Gaiman He is brilliant, imaginative, and abso friggin lutely weird, and I love him for it And this book of short stories and prose, Fragile Things , is by far my most favorite compendium of his Fragile Things is a collection of oddities, retellings, poetry, spin offs, and queer creations of Neil Gaiman s colorful imagination Some of the stories have been published elsewhere, like Sunbird and October In The Chair , which were included in his M Is For Magic compilation, and some were published in other authors works, written specially by Neil Gaiman, upon their request A series of very short stories was inspired by an album of one of my favorite female indie artists, Tori Amos, who is good friends with Gaiman There were award winning stories here, too, such as A Study In Emerald which won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story and Sunbird, which received for its author the Locus Award.The book also included, at the very last part, a novella published two years after American Gods came out, entitled Monarch of the Glen In the novella, the main character from American Gods, Shadow, finds himself lured into a game with monsters I had my doubts at first on whether I should read it, considering I have yet to read American Gods and might inadvertently run into spoilers, but threw caution into the wind, anyway The novella, as it would turn out, would have an entirely separate and distinct plot from American Gods I asked my husband, who has read it, okay I had a difficult time picking a favorite story from Fragile Things, because I loved everything But I finally whittled it down to five Harlequin Valentine , a short story based on the Harlequinade pantomime The Flints of Memory Lane , which gave me the creeps Other People , because it gave meof the creeps and some goosebumps, too Feeders and Eaters , for the sheer weirdness and horror of it, and The Problem of Susan , which retells, if you will, the story of Susan Pevensie of The Chronicles of Narnia after the series had concluded If you ve read the series, you ll remember that Susan was no longer included in the last books, as she had taken to fancy things and such, and was no longer fit to return to Narnia On the other hand, I couldn t think of any short story or poem that I didn t like The short story written specially for The Matrix , which Neil completed prior to the screening of the very first Matrix film, was, of course, a bit predictable, as it was made to cater to the plot of the film Apart from that, however, it was still an interesting read, and I enjoyed that one nonetheless If I were to use the wordunputdownableto describe a book, this is the one No one in the world, I think, has avivid and odd imagination like Neil does Plus, he writes just beautifully simple words, straightforward language, languid construction He is the best storyteller there is, period And I am just itching to readof his works Thanks, TINTIN, for my copy Review also posted here We owe it to each other to tell stories For years I ve heard the name Neil Gaiman passed about, weighted with heavy praise, and have always promised myself to read him Earlier this fall, after hearing him speak on NPR, I sat down with a copy of Coraline, and hungrily read it in one sitting Despite the novel being intended for an audience much greener than I, I couldn t help but be hypnotized by the charismatic voice and magical delivery and I renewed my promise to return to this author as sooWe owe it to each other to tell stories For years I ve heard the name Neil Gaiman passed about, weighted with heavy praise, and have always promised myself to read him Earlier this fall, after hearing him speak on NPR, I sat down with a copy of Coraline, and hungrily read it in one sitting Despite the novel being intended for an audience much greener than I, I couldn t help but be hypnotized by the charismatic voice and magical delivery and I renewed my promise to return to this author as soon as possible More recently, although I was happily buried in a pile of Christmas reading, I purchased his second collection of short fictions, Fragile Things, to revisit this infectious voice and break away from heavier reading into his eerie landscapes Simply put, this collection was some of the most fun I ve had in a long time Filled with many of his Locus award winners, and his Hugo winner, this collection brings many of Gaiman s works, most of them scattered about in various anthologies, together in one binding All of the signature excellence with which Gaiman has rightly built his widespread fan base is present to prove that he is equally wonderful with his short game as he is in novel form and to tell stories which will send shivers down the spines of readers of all ages.There is a vigorous charm about the writing He lures the reader with lush, simple sentences, which are easy on the eyes, but commanding none the less Once he has drawn you in, cozying up with the reader with a bit of background, the efficacious flow of his phrasing pulls the reader along through the lucid visions of his spectral creations at high speeds in an experienceakin to a thrill ride than just typeface on a page While Gaiman s writing isn t extravagant, the sleek simplicity of it makes it effective to captivate the minds of both the young and old alike I especially enjoyed Gaiman s way of affecting a sense of a story within a story where he puts near equal emphasis in the context in which the story is told as in the actual tale much like Henry James does in The Turn of the Screw, or Nikolai Gogol does to exemplify the oral tradition of storytelling This technique is most uniquely present in October in the Chair, which earned the 2003 Locus award for Best Short Story, where the 12 months, each personified in a comical fashion, are seated around a campfire and listen to October tell a chilling tale about a young runaway and his nighttime engagements with the ghost of a dead boy This helps highlight Gaiman s pervasive idea of the power stories hold while also allowing him to bring the reader into the story at a safe distance before shocking them This also allows the author to add a touch of autobiography, as is the case in Closing Time, where he admits thatof the story is ripped from reality than he would like to admit.These stories are just a flat out good time From aliens to ghost and vampires, Sherlock Holmes and even into the Matrix, these stories will delight and frighten, which brought to mind my childhood of hiding beneath the sheets reading Steven King s short stories far past bedtime There is a compelling wit and humor to these tales, many of which reside just on the outskirts of any sense of conclusion, using the classic horror device of allowing the imagination to run wild and fill in the cracks In stories such as Feeders and Eaters, we never learn the grisly details of exactly why the man has fallen in on himself, but there is enough horrific background to allow for creativity to connect the last few dots Sometimes the unsaid can be mightier than the said , and the emotion of fear overrides the physical object of terror Gaiman is also a master at the twist, such as the Hugo winning A Study in Emerald, his Sherlock Holmes A Study in Scarlet inspired tale, which he mixed with a shot of H.P Lovecraft As the reader reaches the conclusion they will notice, if they are versed in Holmes lore a bit, an alternate reality that goes beyond the sci fi elements The most staggering twist is contained in the very short yet very disturbing Other People, which I would label one of the must reads of this collection A few other points of interest are the short pieces written to accompany a Tori Amos tour book that each reflect a personality from various songs, and a novella dealing with Shadow, the lead character fro Gaiman s American Gods.While many of these stories are first rate, this collection does fall into a few pitfalls that comes with the territory of simply rounding up anthologized stories, as there is a sense of unevenness and a fair share of filler Some of the prose poems also seem to be placed in here just because and do not have the same impact as many of his stories, however Gaiman admits in the introduction that he originally did not intend for any of the poetry to be included That said, Instructions, a poem that illustrates the clich s of fairytales in the manner of laying out ground rules for what to do should one find themselves in a fairytale, is highly creative and one of my favorite pieces here There are a few others that bring about a smile, although the stories are the real meat of the collection A few of the stories can be shrugged off as well, but do not be discouraged as there is an abundance of juicy tales The introduction itself is just as enjoyable as the rest of the stories the readers get a glimpse into the author s creative process as he describes some behind the scenes tidbits of each story It is always fascinating for me to experience the author beyond the romanticized perception of an author, and here you can see Gaiman as the human being, writing stories in hotels rooms, airports, or in his living room as his children run about He puts the stories into the context of his own life, which makes them seem all thepersonal.Storytelling is of major importance to Neil Gaiman In a recent NPR interview with Gaiman, he stated that his enjoyment in writing children s fiction stems from a belief that it is the most influential This is apparent in The Problem of Susan when Greta says that her interest in children s fiction is becausethey seemed the books that were most important to me The ones that matteredGaiman stated that the books we read in our childhood always reside in our hearts and help shape who we are, and also enjoying fiction at a young age helps ensure we continue to pursue literature throughout our lives He said that Coraline is one of his favorites since many people come to him with stories of how when they were younger and faced with problems, they would remember how brave Coraline was and attempt to emulate this He said that he began writing children s fiction after a visit to the library in search of scary stories aimed at 5 year olds, his daughters age at the time, brought only concerned looks and no books He set out to rectify this, and the world of books is a better place for it The Problem of Susan briefly discusses a history of children s fiction, moving from books where children were just miniature adults to ones that arepure and sanctimonious , and dealt with issues that befall children in the way they perceive and react to them He shows how that pure, innocent period of growth is essential before they reach the pornography and violence that befalls adulthood His method of doing so envisions a very different view of the Lion and White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia, one that won t soon be forgotten The poem Locks is another place where Gaiman stresses the beauty of childhood innocence in stories, and the function of storytelling being passed through generations The importance of storytelling is also a major theme in The Invention of Aladdin, where stories can be a tool in protecting ones own life.Fragile Things is an excellent choice for all readers It will shock, terrify and even make you laugh across a broad range of stories and poems I am very glad I picked this up and I will certainly be returning to the twisted mind of Neil Gaiman very soon, I suggest you do as well He seems to be always eager to tell a story and this is probably the closest thing to climbing up on his knee and hearing him recite one of his magical tales I hope he has a big enough knee for all of us.4 5 Many of these stories have been released as their own story and I have read them already October in the Chair has been in 2 other collections so it s a good thing that is one of my favorite stories The main story in this collection is Monarch of the Glen and it is a novella that is part of the American Gods story and I heart that story It was nice to be back in that story I still need to see the show There were 2 poems and many great short stories in here I think this is his best collect Many of these stories have been released as their own story and I have read them already October in the Chair has been in 2 other collections so it s a good thing that is one of my favorite stories The main story in this collection is Monarch of the Glen and it is a novella that is part of the American Gods story and I heart that story It was nice to be back in that story I still need to see the show There were 2 poems and many great short stories in here I think this is his best collection of stories I ve read so far I think I have read them all so far I love the Sherlock Holmes retelling That was great to go back for a new twisted story out of what Sherlock would have ever seen This is his best collection The stories include The Mapmaker A Study in Emerald a Sherlock Holmes Cthulhu Mythos The Fairy Reel October in the Chair The Hidden Chamber Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire The Flints of Memory Lane Closing Time Going Wodwo Bitter Grounds Other People Keepsakes and Treasures A Love Story Good Boys Deserve Favors The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch Strange Little Girls Harlequin Valentine Locks The Problem of Susan Instructions How Do You Think It Feels My Life Fifteen Painted Cards from a Vampire Tarot Feeders and Eaters Diseasemaker s Croup In the End Goliath Pages from a Journal Found in a Shoebox Left in a Greyhound Bus Somewhere Between Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Louisville, Kentucky How to Talk to Girls at Parties The Day the Saucers Came Sunbird Inventing Aladdin The Monarch of the Glen.Neil hasn t been putting out a whole lot of work lately I wonder what he is working on Maybe he s simply living his life It seems wrong and somewhat sad that my favorite Gaiman book is not one of his many heralded novels, but a collection of short stories Mind you, Fragile Things is a great collection of short stories Some of the content herein is muchadult than a good deal of his other work, which can tend towards the childlike and fanciful Don t get me wrong, I enjoy the fantastical stuff with its focus on the magic of youth and mystery of the unknown But I think I prefer his short story work because It seems wrong and somewhat sad that my favorite Gaiman book is not one of his many heralded novels, but a collection of short stories Mind you, Fragile Things is a great collection of short stories Some of the content herein is muchadult than a good deal of his other work, which can tend towards the childlike and fanciful Don t get me wrong, I enjoy the fantastical stuff with its focus on the magic of youth and mystery of the unknown But I think I prefer his short story work because it seemswell crafted and honed to a higher perfection than some of his full length novels, which feel a bit loose at times In summation, here is my newspaper book review title for this Gaiman s Fragile Things Is Strong Stuff shakes head.horriblehorrible Look at the surprise that just landed on my doorstep D D Apparently this is a new movie tie in edition for How to Talk to Girls at Parties It also includes some 30 other short stories and poems by Neil Gaiman From Gaiman s Introduction I think that I would rather recollect a life mis spent on fragile things than spent avoiding moral debt The words turned up in a dream and I wrote them down upon waking, uncertain what they meant or to whom they applied It seemed like a fine tit Look at the surprise that just landed on my doorstep D D Apparently this is a new movie tie in edition for How to Talk to Girls at Parties It also includes some 30 other short stories and poems by Neil Gaiman From Gaiman s Introduction I think that I would rather recollect a life mis spent on fragile things than spent avoiding moral debt The words turned up in a dream and I wrote them down upon waking, uncertain what they meant or to whom they applied It seemed like a fine title for a book of short stories There are so many fragile things, after all People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts Finished And it only took me, well, 3 months to make my way through this collection of Neil Gaiman fantasy stories 3.5 stars There are some great stories here, but also some really offbeat and quirky ones, and some that I found totally forgettable, as in, I went back and looked at them after I finished this book, a couple of months after I d read them, and didn t remember much of the plot at all.Also, Gaiman is so brilliant and creative but he s also sometimes gruesome and occasionally reall Finished And it only took me, well, 3 months to make my way through this collection of Neil Gaiman fantasy stories 3.5 stars There are some great stories here, but also some really offbeat and quirky ones, and some that I found totally forgettable, as in, I went back and looked at them after I finished this book, a couple of months after I d read them, and didn t remember much of the plot at all.Also, Gaiman is so brilliant and creative but he s also sometimes gruesome and occasionally really off putting Sexual predators, pedophiles, murderers and people without conscience haunt a lot of these stories Full review to come.I receive a free review copy of this book from the publisher, William Morrow HarperCollins Thank you Unfortunately, I picked up The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making in the middle of reading this collection, and it threw Gaiman s shortcomings and my reactions into sharp relief Gaiman s clever, no doubt But this is a mostly almost horror collection of short story ideas rendered in a not particularly clever way, and I often had the feeling I was reading bits and pieces of autobiography tucked into larger tales Luckily, a pleasant side effect was a coveted spot on R Unfortunately, I picked up The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making in the middle of reading this collection, and it threw Gaiman s shortcomings and my reactions into sharp relief Gaiman s clever, no doubt But this is a mostly almost horror collection of short story ideas rendered in a not particularly clever way, and I often had the feeling I was reading bits and pieces of autobiography tucked into larger tales Luckily, a pleasant side effect was a coveted spot on Richard s RaR TaG s list In the spirit of mild self immolation, I plowed my way through in bits and pieces over perhaps two weeks okay, now it slike four never able to takethan a story or two at a time Here s what I think Gaiman is successful because he is popular and slightly pushes boundaries in a currently fashionable, ie noir way Occasionally he does lovely things with words and had fabulous ideas, and I hear he s a very nice guy However, for me, his writing is very uneven, and feels like it would benefit from longer incubation, and perhaps closer affinity with whatever genre he prefers I m not a horror fan, but so many of his short stories seem to delight in twists, and I m not just referring to the surprise ending A Study in Emerald is perhaps one of the most enjoyable stories, a riff on Sherlock Holmes solving a crime for the alien royalty, told in traditional Doyle style October in the Chair has an interesting concept at it s base and ends up being a story within a story, the source of The Graveyard Book The inner story was enjoyable, but the outer felt unfinished, although I enjoyed the personification of the months The Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves was a little bit amusing, but seems a tad overwrought and overthought It has a facetious angle that benefits from a reader s knowledge of literature The Flints of Memory Lane is a germ of an idea that would benefit from grafting into a larger tale I do like the line, I like things to be story shaped Perhaps it should have been merged into Closing Time, another story embedded within a story as patrons at a private club share ghost stories Bitter Grounds is a traveler looking for another life, and finds one as an anthropologist who studies zombies It was a kind of meh story, and felt like it was trying hard to be portentous and scary, but wasn t I like the first paragraph and the phrase, In every way that counted, I was dead a fantastic opening line Other People is a short short I m sure I ve read before, perhaps in a mythology book the idea feels like a chance to explore the concept of pain and hellthan anything else Keepsakes and Treasures has nothing worth keeping, and is twisted and unpleasant on a number of levels The plot surrounds the development of a murderer as he finds employment under an obscenely wealthy man, Mr Alice It s one of the stories where none of the characters are likeable or redeemable Good Boys Deserve Favors title taken from a mnenonic for learning music is an ode to a bass that I presume the author played as a young boy, and is a little too short to feel quite as mystical as it wants to be The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch reminds me far too much of The Night Circus, and not in a way that benefits the short story Unfortunately, it is a dark and twisted circus, and even the dreams have sharp edges Strange Little Girls would benefit from being read while listening to Tori Amos, but frankly, I d rather not I happen to ownthan one Tori album, but she can get haunting and mournful quite fast, and I d rather not spend the rest of the day depressed Harlequin Valentine was one of the few I rather enjoyed, an unexpected metamorphosis coming to a stalking puppet The Problem of Susan is better left unread if one wants to have any positive re reads of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe although I found the Susan story an interesting idea, Gaiman manages to twist it up with a kinky sexual element that benefits no one How Do You Think it Feels is a modern adultery tale Very little seems special to me about it, and the angle of haunting is meh Not scary, not really thought provoking, not really interesting Fifteen Painted Cardsfrom a Tarot remains me in a painful way of a story idea I once had in college Thankfully, it never escaped past my best friend if only the same had happened here Feeders and Eaters was actually horrific, in a Tell Tale Heart kind of way Diseasemaker s Croup was mildly interesting, but not a fitting read for a hypocondriac, and Goliath just missed me entirely Pages from a Journal was a bit of a yawn How to Talk to Girls had an interesting kernel of an idea, and a nice turn of phrase or three, especially when the narrator meets a girl who introduces herself as a poem Sunbird was an interesting twist on the firebird and the Epicurean adventurers, but I thought it dragged on a little too long Again, I had the oddest feeling I had read the characters dialogue before It felt a little Zelazny, spare and self consciously oblique.For me, by far the most enjoyable was Monarch of the Glen, in which the American Gods s character, Shadow, is visiting Scotland Two characters from an earlier short make an appearance here, and it is Mr Alice and Mr Smith I enjoyed the way local mythology got weaved in on a number of different levels.Scattered through the book are a number of poems, all of which I am completely not qualified to give an opinion on, and none of which really spoke to me.Mission of browsing a Gaiman body of work accomplished, and self flagellation accomplished for the week Hurrah Here s what the introduction says about Fragile Things It seemed like a fine title for a book of short stories There are so many fragile things, after all People break so easily, and so do dreams and heartsIt all feels like a desperate attempt to release a collection of unrelated stories into the world They are all very unique and individual with a title that could be applied to a number of different short story books instead of this one So the book that has been sold to us feels li Here s what the introduction says about Fragile Things It seemed like a fine title for a book of short stories There are so many fragile things, after all People break so easily, and so do dreams and heartsIt all feels like a desperate attempt to release a collection of unrelated stories into the world They are all very unique and individual with a title that could be applied to a number of different short story books instead of this one So the book that has been sold to us feels like a very different thing to the one I read I enjoyed it, but I don t think it quite embodies the model awkwardly proposed I had very similar feelings when I read Gaiman srecent collection Trigger Warning The stories were quite good, but very few had anything to do with the idea of a trigger that sets the story in motion and reveals the horror lurking in wait They were just stories And Gaiman s stories are full of possibilities They are all so random and based upon chance encounters, and that s what drives them forward I just didn t know what to expect from story to story A man can walk into a diner and bump into a man he hasn t seen for ten years who has a very dark and twisted tale to share A boy can walk down the street and see a ghost in the lamplight or another can wake up and find himself in hell There s just no filter to the possibilities They can go anywhere and be anythingSo in terms of entertainment value and the ability to keep things fresh and interesting across pieces this scores very highly No two stories are the same and none really follow a particular pattern or system The idea of grouping them under a title seems a little absurd A few of them, though, did feel like they belonged in the same world as American Gods I wouldn t be entirely surprised if he wrote some of them at the same time as working on his magnum opus there are certainly parallels.As with all short story collections especially inconsistent ones there are good stories and then there are bad stories often involved With this some stories remain open and then there are some that are weird to the point of being nonsensical This is very much a mixed bag I really enjoyed a few then there were others that just left me feeling confused as the story didn t seem to do anything I think Gaiman is a much better novel and graphic novel writer than he is a short story writer This is worth reading if you re already a big fan of his, but if you re looking for really a decent collection of short stories I can think of much better places to look You can t do this to me, Neil The boy went inside the farmhouse and AND What the hell, May For god s sake, what kind of answer is that Leave the Month finish the story, you That s how much I liked this book It made me a bit violent I found myself speaking to the characters talking alone to some pages, from a sane person s point of view I didn t like all the short stories, for example, How do you think it feels , Keepsakes and Treasures , The problem with Susan view spoiler You can t do this to me, Neil The boy went inside the farmhouse and AND What the hell, May For god s sake, what kind of answer is that Leave the Month finish the story, you That s how much I liked this book It made me a bit violent I found myself speaking to the characters talking alone to some pages, from a sane person s point of view I didn t like all the short stories, for example, How do you think it feels , Keepsakes and Treasures , The problem with Susan view spoiler it s an unsettling story about Susan s fate and a witch ends up having sex with a lion I haven t read that Lewis book yet and I already know that Susan isn t going to Narnia hide spoiler but the entire collection has a unique Gaiman style A funny, weird, original, heartbreaking, twisted, magical, dark and insightful style that leaves you wantingHe seems to be the kind of writer that can save an average story with just an amazing line that describes the way you might be feeling at that time And that line starts repeating itself in your head I admire a person who can say so many things, that can share complex thoughts and mixed emotions with simple words I may be grim, perhaps, but only just as grimas any man who suffered such affairs Misfortune,carelessness or pain, what matters is the loss You ll seethe heartbreak linger in my eyes, and dreamof making me forget what came before you walkedinto the hallway of this house In every way that counted, I was dead Inside somewhere maybe I was screaming and weeping and howling like an animal, but that was another person deep inside, another person who had no access to the lips and face and mouth and head, so on the surface I just shrugged and smile and kept moving If I could have physically passed away, just let it all go, like that, without doing anything, stepped out of life as easily as walking through a door I would have done But I was going to sleep at night and waking in the morning, disappointed to be there and resigned to existence.I may not like the whole poem or story, but I take some beautiful lines with me, and that s all I seem to need Unless we are talking about stories poems like A Study in Emerald , October in the Chair , The Flints of Memory Lane , Instructions or Other People Those are really good.I have to say I don t enjoy horror stories But his horror is like, um, like a delicate, philosophical horror Almost sweet I don t know if that even exists, but that is how I see it Some stories gave me the chills, sure, but at the same time, I felt a wave of sorrow and a feeling of understanding, empathy Loneliness moves the world, for better or for worse.So, whatever I don t know why the hell I m reviewing this because I can t find the right words.I like things to be story shaped.Reality, however, is not story shaped, and the eruptions of the odd into our lives are not story shaped either They do not end in entirely satisfactory ways Recounting the strange is like telling one s dreams one can communicate the events of a dream but not the emotional content, the way that a dream can color one s entire day.Like this book.I m not used to the contemporary writing style The newest thing I read was written sixty years ago I don t know why, honestly Okay, I know but I don t want to say it So, it is a big change for me I don t usually connect with living writers Gaiman is a nice exception most of the times.Feb 09, 14 Also on my blog


About the Author: Neil Gaiman

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders book, this is one of the most wanted Neil Gaiman author readers around the world.


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