Title: Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
Author: Neil Gaiman
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Anthology/Short Story Collection
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and I discovered him because of his short stories. Smoke and Mirrors is my favorite collection of his, but Fragile Things comes in at a close second. This volume of twenty-six stories, poems, and riddles was fantastic; Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite sources of inspiration. As this collection is so extensive, I’ll provide an overall rating for the whole book and highlighting the stories that I particularly enjoyed. So, without further ado, here we go!
A Study in Emerald: 5 out of 5 Stars. This story was like The Wizard of Oz, Sherlock Holmes, and the stories of H.P. Lovecraft had a lovechild, and I adored it. A wicked retelling of a story I thought I knew, I followed the narrator through a Victorian London to solve a dangerous mystery, and that ending was incredible! Easily one of my favorite stories in the entire collection.
October in the Chair: 5 out of 5 Stars. I loved this story, especially the format. The months of the year are personified, and are gathered in a cottage around a roaring fire, and they exchange stories of humanity. October takes the spotlight, and tells an unforgettable tale. One of my favorites, and I loved the way that it was told. Absolutely fantastic.
Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire: 5 out of 5 Stars. I loved this story; it is quite possibly my favorite. Dark, chilling, and more than a little creepy and confusing, Gaiman transforms the familiar story of Wuthering Heights and amps up the supernatural aspect of it. A young woman finds a dark house in the middle of the woods, and discovers the dark remnants of a dangerous curse…
Bitter Grounds: 5 out of 5 Stars. This story was confusing, in the best kind of way. I had to read it three or four times before it really sank in. Bitter Grounds is broken up into numbered sections, and tells the story of several zombies. My interpretation might be incorrect, but I loved it; the history of it didn’t mitigate the creeping sense of wrongness that I felt reading it. One of Gaiman’s strengths is that he uses all elements in a story to his disposal, and my favorite part of it was the setting and the time period.
The Problem of Susan: 5 out of 5 Stars. I loved this story! The Narnia series is one of my favorites, and Susan just so happens to be my favorite character. This story imagined what happened to her after Narnia, and gives a much darker tone to the classic children’s series. I loved Susan, trying to forget about The Professor, Narnia, and the memories of the war that followed her home. And that ending! It blew my mind, even as I suspected what was going on.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties: 5 out of 5 Stars. I loved this story, so much! It spoke to my teenage self so much; it took me right back to being sixteen and anxious over having a conversation with the opposite sex. But I loved Gaiman’s take on dating someone that is quite possibly from another world entirely. The chemistry between the narrator and the girl he speaks to crackled, and I was laughing throughout the whole story. Are the girls human? Or something else altogether?
And last but certainly not least,
The Monarch of the Glen: This novella takes place in the universe of one of Neil Gaiman’s older but classic novels: American Gods. It happens to be one of my favorites, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to walk beside Shadow again. He finds himself in Scotland, still reeling from the events of American Gods. Offered some easy money by a mysterious benefactor named Smith, Shadow jumps at the opportunity. After all, playing at being rich and famous isn’t exactly difficult. But these people aren’t entirely ordinary, and Shadow finds that no matter the price, some things just can’t be done. I loved this story a lot; it was really fun to catch up with Shadow. The bottom line: A wry, funny and dark collection of poems and stories, Fragile Things is one of my favorite short story collections by Neil Gaiman; his stories never disappoint and it’s the perfect dose of inspiration for this girl! Next on deck: Broken Throne: A Red Queen Collection by Victoria Aveyard!