“There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.” – Neil Gaiman
Sigh. Isn’t that a lovely quote?
Fragile Things: Short Fiction and Wondersis my second Neil Gaiman — Coraline was the first — and I must say that I am fast becoming a fan of this literary genius. One more book and maybe I can finally declare that I am a true-blue Gaimanatic, hihi. 😉
The reason why I chose to read Fragile Things as my second Gaiman book was because I have been wanting to try to read short story collections for quite a time (actually, I became even more serious to read “shorts” ever since Short Stories lost in the polls for book of the month over at the book club.) Several friends at TFG are huge Gaiman fans, and I want to find out what the furor is all about. 😀
This collection consists of a mixture of stories and poems — thirty utterly strange and weird and eerie — which makes Neil Gaiman Neil Gaiman. Despite the strangeness and weirdness, I cannot help but fall in love with the beauty of the simple language and the style. Many times while reading the book I cannot help but exclaim how and where in the world Gaiman gets all these strange ideas. Speculative fiction is something that I do not usually fancy but with Neil Gaiman, I have come to appreciate this genre more.
I must confess, though, that there are some stories and poems (especially the poems, but I am not really a poem person, so) which I cannot entirely understand. Some made me think for a bit more after the end (i.e. October in the Chair, Closing Time), but despite my lack of comprehension, I am still in awe of this author’s works, if only for befuddling my otherwise dense mind. Haha.
There are several stories which I really liked though:
- A Study in Emerald — the first story in the collection and which gives off a taste of Sherlock Holmes. This won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 2004.
- Harlequin Valentine –bittersweet story based on Harlequinade pantomime.
- The Facts In The Case Of The Departure Of Miss Finch — eerie and and scary and yes, strange.
- The Problem of Susan — a retelling of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.
- How Do You Think It Feels — gargoyles, which are already creepy as they are.
- How To Talk To Girls At Parties — this is one story I do not completely understand, but the strangeness makes it even more beautiful.
- Sunbird — of Epicureans and the Phoenix. This is my second favorite story in the collection.
- The Monarch of the Glen — my most favorite story of all. Scotland interests me and Shadow, the main character, is from Gaiman’s book, American Gods. I must read this book next, I guess. Well, maybe after The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, which is his latest book. 🙂
The Day The Saucers Came is probably the only poem I understood, so it is of no surprise that this is my most favorite poem in the collection. Haha!
“As I write this now, it occurs to me that the peculiarity of most things we think of as fragile is how tough they truly are.” -Neil Gaiman, in his Introduction to Fragile Things
My copy: ebook