I thought I was your destination. Looks like I was just another stop on the line.
Fragile Things : Short Fictions and Wonders
By Neil Gaiman
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.
Fragile Things had been sitting on my bookshelf for nearly ten years, and then once I finally picked it up it took another 3 months to read. Short story collections are weird for me- either I devour them instantly, or the lack of cohesion allows me to take my time. I definitely took my time with this one.
This collection, which includes stories and poems both new and published elsewhere, had some real standouts for me – A Study in Emerald, Sunbird, The Monarch of the Glen, and The Problem of Susan in particular. Gaiman takes so many different genres and inspirations and makes something wholly different and wonderful.
But while there were stories I really enjoyed there were others that just fell a little flat (and are responsible I suppose for my slower reading progress). Examples of those would be the ones centred around Tori Amos albums that I’m unfamiliar with, or some of the poems. Nothing was outright bad, just less engaging.
One additional thing I really appreciated was Gaiman’s commentary on each work. The book opens with an introduction that provides background and context on each piece. It was fun seeing where the different inspirations came from, and what the author himself thinks about each one.
Should You Read This?
If you are a fan of fantasy, horror, or sci-fi, I would recommend giving this a whirl. There are stories based on Lovecraft, on Sherlock Holmes, on Narnia and the Matrix. The last tale is even a sequel novella to American Gods.
There are so many great references and surprises peppered throughout, that it makes the entire read worth it even if there were a few tales to struggle through during the journey.
Summary from Goodreads