Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders

( 154 )

Overview

A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night . . .

Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams—and nightmares . . .

In a Hugo Award–winning story, a great detective must solve a most unsettling royal murder in a strangely altered Victorian England . . .

These marvelous creations and more showcase the unparalleled invention ...

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Overview

A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night . . .

Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams—and nightmares . . .

In a Hugo Award–winning story, a great detective must solve a most unsettling royal murder in a strangely altered Victorian England . . .

These marvelous creations and more showcase the unparalleled invention and storytelling brilliance—and the terrifyingly dark and entertaining wit—of the incomparable Neil Gaiman. By turns delightful, disturbing, and diverting, Fragile Things is a gift of literary enchantment from one of the most original writers of our time.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
In the introduction to Neil Gaiman's short story collection -- a wildly diverse assortment of horror, sci-fi, dark fantasy, poetry, and speculative fiction -- he explains the book's title: "Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds' eggs and human hearts and dreams, are…fragile things, made up of nothing stronger or more lasting than twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks."

Noteworthy selections in this undeniably exceptional collection include the Hugo Award–winning "A Study in Emerald," which deftly blends Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's late-19th-century England with gruesome Lovecraftian horror; the Locus Award–winning "October in the Chair"; an homage to Ray Bradbury that features the months of the year personified; and "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," a tale featuring two oversexed teenagers from an all-boys school in South London who stumble into a party full of what they take to be hot chicks but are in reality alien tourists! Also included are a brilliant American Gods novella ("Monarch of the Glen") and "Strange Little Girls," a series of, well, strange very short stories that first appeared in a Tori Amos tour book.

Like his previous short story collection (1998's critically acclaimed Smoke and Mirrors), Gaiman's Fragile Things is anything but; this is a powerhouse compilation that proves once again that Gaiman is a true master of short fiction. It's fitting that he dedicates this collection to three short story icons -- Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, and Robert Sheckley. Paul Goat Allen
Entertainment Weekly
“Strange, or sweet, or eerie, or heartfelt stories . . . wonderfully peculiar . . . Gaiman relishes the sacred act of telling stories.”
New York Times Book Review
“A prodigiously imaginative collection...The best of these clever fantasy metafictions explore the mysteries of artistic inspiration.”
Toronto Star
“A powerful and oddly unified collection, a perfect introduction to Gaiman’s work for new readers and a thrilling reminder to his long-time fans . . . [T]he shorter prose form allows Gaiman a greater freedom of whimsy and provocation than even his graphic work, with stunning results.”
San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“Those with a taste for inventive idiosyncracy will find themselves fully rewarded.”
Washington Post Book World
“FRAGILE THINGS is a delightful compendium...[Gaiman] is indeed a national treasure.”
USA Today
“Fiercely playful and very grim, wisps of whimsy and wonder buoyed by the happy heart of a tragic poet.”
Baltimore Sun
“Readers will be reminded most in these stories of that master craftsman...Ray Bradbury...Gothic tales of high caliber.”
Booklist (starred review)
“One delight after another.”
Booklist
"One delight after another."
Entertainment Weekly
"Strange, or sweet, or eerie, or heartfelt stories . . . wonderfully peculiar . . . Gaiman relishes the sacred act of telling stories."
Toronto Star
"A powerful and oddly unified collection, a perfect introduction to Gaiman’s work for new readers and a thrilling reminder to his long-time fans . . . [T]he shorter prose form allows Gaiman a greater freedom of whimsy and provocation than even his graphic work, with stunning results."
USA Today
"Fiercely playful and very grim, wisps of whimsy and wonder buoyed by the happy heart of a tragic poet."
New York Times Book Review
"A prodigiously imaginative collection...The best of these clever fantasy metafictions explore the mysteries of artistic inspiration."
Baltimore Sun
"Readers will be reminded most in these stories of that master craftsman...Ray Bradbury...Gothic tales of high caliber."
Washington Post Book World
"FRAGILE THINGS is a delightful compendium...[Gaiman] is indeed a national treasure."
San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"Those with a taste for inventive idiosyncracy will find themselves fully rewarded."
Graham Joyce
[Gaiman's] new collection, Fragile Things, is a delightful compendium rather than a straightforward story collection, but it's a fine sample of the author's versatility. Gaiman writes in different registers: comedy, satire, pastiche, deadpan, lyrical or whimsical, but almost invariably dark. It all depends on whichever sooty, fantastic spirit drops down the chimney of his Minneapolis writing room on any given day.
— The Washington Post
Dave Itzkoff
… as he recounts the origins of each work in the book, it becomes clear that just about everything Gaiman comes into contact with inspires him to write: the invitation of a friend or editor will usually do the trick, but so will a Tori Amos album, a Frank Frazetta painting, the screenplay for “The Matrix” or a photograph of a sock monkey. He is as comfortable performing the act of conjuring in a New York hotel room between recording sessions for an audiobook as he is in a waiting room at a dodgy train station in the south of London.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Hot off the critical success of Anansi Boys, Gaiman offers this largely disappointing medley that feels like a collection of idea seeds that have yet to mature. Among the ground covered: an old woman eats her cat alive, slowly; two teenage boys fumble through a house party attended by preternaturally attractive aliens; a raven convinces a writer attempting realism to give way to fantastical inclinations. A few poems, heartfelt or playfully musical, pockmark the collection. At his best, Gaiman has a deft touch for surprise and inventiveness, and there are inspired moments, including one story that brings the months of the year to life and imagines them having a board meeting. (September is an "elegant creature of mock solicitude," while April is sensitive but cruel; they don't get along), but most of these stories rely too heavily on the stock-in-trade of horror, sci-fi and fantasy. Gaiman only once or twice gives himself the space necessary to lock the reader's attention.150,000 announced first printing. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This third collection of "short fictions and wonder" (after Smoke and Mirrors and Adventures in the Dream Trade) from the author of Anansi Boys ranges from a tale of zombies to a series of meditations inspired by singer Tori Amos's album, Strange Little Girls. As in his other books, there are fantastical elements. Gaiman follows no overarching theme, but that is what makes these stories charming, at times creepy, and good fun. They read like dreams and meditations, with a stream-of-consciousness quality to their presentation. Gaiman also explains some of the inspiration behind the stories to help put them in perspective. Overall, well worth adding to any collection; highly recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/06.]-Anastasia Diamond, Cleveland P.L. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal

Adult/High School
In this collection of stories (and a few poems), storytellers and the act of storytelling have prominent roles. The anthropomorphized months of the year swap tales at their annual board meeting: a half-eaten man recounts how he made the acquaintance of his beloved cannibal; and even Scheherazade, surely the greatest storyteller of all, receives a tribute with a poem. The stories are by turns horrifying and fanciful, often blending the two with a little sex, violence, and humor. An introduction offers the genesis of each selection, itself a stealthy way of initiating teens into the art of writing short stories, and to some of the important authors of the genre. Gaiman cites his influences, and readers may readily see the inflection of H. P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury in many of the tales. Horror and fantasy are forms of literature wrought with clichés, but Gaiman usually comes up with an interesting new angle. This collection is more poetic and more restrained than Stephen King's short stories and more expertly written than China Mieville's Looking for Jake (Ballantine, 2005). Gaiman skips along the edge of many adolescent fascinations-life, death, the living dead, and the occult-and teens with a taste for the weird will enjoy this book
—Emma ColemanCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Neo-Goth-Pulp-Noir has pretty much been trademarked by Gaiman (Anansi Boys, 2005, etc.), and these 31 jagged slices of life and the afterlife dependably deliver the damaged goods: zombies, dream-haunted kiddies, femmes fatale and fiends. Reprising his role from American Gods (2001) as ex-con, taciturn hunk, superhero and reincarnation of the Norse god Baldur, Shadow shakes things up in "The Monarch of the Glen," battling a primeval beastie and romancing a woodland nymph in the unlikely setting of a tycoon's get-together on the Scottish heath. "Good Boys Deserve Favours" highlights a lonely lad's moony passion for his double bass. "Strange Little Girls," penned to accompany a Tori Amos CD, catalogues the Eternal Feminine from showgirls to Holocaust victims to la belle dame sans merci. "October in the Chair" whimsically features the months as characters. "A Study in Emerald" offers smart, nifty homage to Conan Doyle. In "Harlequin Valentine," Missy the waitress chows down lovingly on the heart of the motley-clad acrobat of the commedia dell'arte, but even that grisly feast is rendered with swooning lyricism. Gaiman again proves himself a perverse romantic, heir not only to Poe and Baudelaire but to the breathless Pre-Raphaelites. (The poetry he includes here, for example, is generally less creepy than drippy.) He wears his pop cred in boldface, and street-smart hipness saturates these eerie epiphanies. But the collection also boasts lush prose, a lack of irony and a winning faith in the enchantment of stories. Expect the unexpected. Then savor the luscious chills.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060515232
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/9/2010
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 96,319
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.84 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books for readers of all ages, and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award and the Locus Award for Best Novelette for his story "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains." Originally from England, he now lives in America.

Biography

Neil Gaiman thought he wrote comic books. But a newspaper editor, of course, set him straight.

Back when he was riding the diabolical headwinds of his popular series of graphic novels, The Sandman, the author attended a party where he introduced himself as a comic-book writer to a newspaper's literary editor. But when the editor quickly realized who this actually was -- and the glaze melted from his eyes -- he offered Gaiman a correction tinged with astonishment: "My God, man, you don't write comics, you write graphic novels." Relating the story to theLos Angeles Times in 1995, Gaiman said, "I suddenly felt like someone who had been informed that she wasn't a hooker, that in fact she was a lady of the evening."

Gaiman's done much more, of course, than simply write graphic novels, having coauthored, with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, a comic novel about the Apocalypse; adapted into hardcover the BBC miniseries Neverwhere about the dark underworld beneath the streets of London; and, inspired by his young daughter, put a horrifying spin on C.S. Lewis' wardrobe doors for Coraline, a children's book about a passageway into a magical, yet malevolent, land.

But it is The Sandman that is Gaiman's magnum opus.

Though he had told a career counselor in high school that he wanted to pen comic books, he had a career as a freelance journalist before his first graphic novel, Violent Cases, was published in England in 1987. DC Comics discovered him and The Sandman was born. Or reborn, actually. The comic debuted back in 1939 with a regular-Joe crime fighter in the lead. But in Gaiman's hands the tale had a more otherworldly spin, slowing introducing readers to the seven siblings Endless: Dream, Death, Desire, Destiny, Destruction, Despair and Delirium (once Delight). They all have their roles in shaping the fates of man. In fact, when Death was imprisoned for decades, the results were devastating. Richard Nixon reached The White House and Michael Jackson the Billboard charts.

Direction from newspaper editors notwithstanding, to Gaiman, these stories are still comic books. The man who shuttled back and forth between comics and classics in his formative years and can pepper his writing with references to Norse mythology as well as the vaudevillian rock group Queen, never cottoned to such highbrow/lowbrow distinctions. Comparing notes on a yachting excursion with members of the Irish rock band U2, the writer who looks like a rock star and Delirium and the rock stars who gave themselves comic-worthy names such as Bono and The Edge came to a realization: Whether the medium is pop music or comic books, not being taken seriously can be a plus. "It's safer to be in the gutter," he told The Washington Post in 1995.

In 1995, Gaiman brought The Sandman to a close and began spending more time on his nongraphic fiction, including a couple of short-story collections. A few years later he released Stardust, an adult fairy tale that has young Tristan Thorn searching for a fallen star to woo the lovely but cold Victoria Forester. In 2001, he placed an ex-con named Shadow in the middle of a war between the ancient and modern dieties in American Gods. Coming in October 2002 is another departure: an audio recording of Two Plays for Voices, which stars Bebe Neuwirth as a wise queen doing battle with a bloodthirsty child and Brian Dennehy as the Angel of Vengeance investigating the first crime in history in heaven's City of Angels.

Gaiman need not worry about defining his artistic relevance, since so many other seem to do it for him. Stephen King, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison are among those who have contributed introductions to his works. William Gibson, the man who coined the term "cyberspace," called him a "a writer of rare perception and endless imagination" as well as "an American treasure." (Even though he's, technically, a British treasure transplanted to the American Midwest.) Even Norman Mailer has weighed in: "Along with all else, Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals, and I say it's about time."

The gushiest praise, however, may come from Frank McConnell, who barely contained himself in the pages of the political and artistic journal Commonweal. Saying Gaiman "may just be the most gifted and important storyteller in English," McConnell crowned Sandman as the most important act of fiction of the day. "And that, not just because of the brilliance and intricacy of its storytelling -- and I know few stories, outside the best of Joyce, Faulkner, and Pynchon, that are more intricate," he wrote in October 1995, " but also because it tells its wonderful and humanizing tale in a medium, comic books, still largely considered demimonde by the tenured zombies of the academic establishment."

"If Sandman is a 'comic,'" he concluded, "then The Magic Flute is a 'musical' and A Midsummer Night's Dream is a skit. Read the damn thing: it's important."

Good To Know

Some fascinating factoids from our interview with Gaiman:

"One of the most enjoyable bits of writing Sandman was getting authors whose work I love to write the introductions for the collected graphic novels -- people like Steve Erickson, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Mikal Gilmore, and Samuel R. Delany."

"I have a big old Addams Family house, with -- in the summertime -- a vegetable garden, and I love growing exotic pumpkins. As a boy in England I used to dream about Ray Bradbury Hallowe'ens, and am thrilled that I get them these days. Unless I'm on the road signing people's books, of course."

"According to my daughters, my most irritating habit is asking for cups of tea."

"I love radio -- and love the availability of things like the Jack Benny radio shows in MP3 format. I'm addicted to BBC radio 7, and keep buying boxed CD sets of old UK radio programs, things like Round the Horne and Hancock's Half Hour. Every now and again I'll write a radio play."

"I love thunderstorms, old houses, and dreams."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portchester, England
    1. Education:
      Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt



Fragile Things



Short Fictions and Wonders



By Neil Gaiman


HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.



Copyright © 2006

Neil Gaiman

All right reserved.


ISBN: 0060515228



Chapter One

A Study in Emerald


I. The New Friend

Fresh from Their Stupendous European Tour, where they performed before several of the crowned heads of Europe, garnering their plaudits and praise with magnificent dramatic performances, combining both comedy and tragedy, the Strand Players wish to make it known that they shall be appearing at the Royal Court Theatre, Drury Lane, for a limited engagement in April, at which they will present My Look Alike Brother Tom!, The Littlest Violet Seller and The Great Old Ones Come (this last an Historical Epic of Pageantry and Delight); each an entire play in one act! Tickets are available now from the Box Office.



It is the immensity, I believe. The hugeness of things below. The darkness of dreams.

But I am woolgathering. Forgive me. I am not a literary man.

I had been in need of lodgings. That was how I met him. I wanted someone to share the cost of rooms with me. We were introduced by a mutual acquaintance, in the chemical laboratories of St. Bart's. "You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive," that was what he said to me, and my mouth fell open and my eyes opened very wide.

"Astonishing," I said.

"Not really," said the stranger inthe white lab coat, who was to become my friend. "From the way you hold your arm, I see you have been wounded, and in a particular way. You have a deep tan. You also have a military bearing, and there are few enough places in the Empire that a military man can be both tanned and, given the nature of the injury to your shoulder and the traditions of the Afghan cave folk, tortured."

Put like that, of course, it was absurdly simple. But then, it always was. I had been tanned nut brown. And I had indeed, as he had observed, been tortured.

The gods and men of Afghanistan were savages, unwilling to be ruled from Whitehall or from Berlin or even from Moscow, and unprepared to see reason. I had been sent into those hills, attached to the--th Regiment. As long as the fighting remained in the hills and mountains, we fought on an equal footing. When the skirmishes descended into the caves and the darkness then we found ourselves, as it were, out of our depth and in over our heads.

I shall not forget the mirrored surface of the underground lake, nor the thing that emerged from the lake, its eyes opening and closing, and the singing whispers that accompanied it as it rose, wreathing their way about it like the buzzing of flies bigger than worlds.

That I survived was a miracle, but survive I did, and I returned to England with my nerves in shreds and tatters. The place that leech like mouth had touched me was tattooed forever, frog white, into the skin of my now withered shoulder. I had once been a crack shot. Now I had nothing, save a fear of the world beneath the world akin to panic, which meant that I would gladly pay sixpence of my army pension for a Hansom cab rather than a penny to travel underground.

Still, the fogs and darknesses of London comforted me, took me in. I had lost my first lodgings because I screamed in the night. I had been in Afghanistan; I was there no longer.

"I scream in the night," I told him.

"I have been told that I snore," he said. "Also I keep irregular hours, and I often use the mantelpiece for target practice. I will need the sitting room to meet clients. I am selfish, private, and easily bored. Will this be a problem?"

I smiled, and I shook my head, and extended my hand. We shook on it.

The rooms he had found for us, in Baker Street, were more than adequate for two bachelors. I bore in mind all my friend had said about his desire for privacy, and I forbore from asking what it was he did for a living. Still, there was much to pique my curiosity. Visitors would arrive at all hours, and when they did I would leave the sitting room and repair to my bedroom, pondering what they could have in common with my friend: the pale woman with one eye bone white, the small man who looked like a commercial traveler, the portly dandy in his velvet jacket, and the rest. Some were frequent visitors, many others came only once, spoke to him, and left, looking troubled or looking satisfied.

He was a mystery to me.

We were partaking of one of our landlady's magnificent breakfasts one morning, when my friend rang the bell to summon that good lady. "There will be a gentleman joining us, in about four minutes," he said. "We will need another place at table."

"Very good," she said, "I'll put more sausages under the grill."

My friend returned to perusing his morning paper. I waited for an explanation with growing impatience. Finally, I could stand it no longer. "I don't understand. How could you know that in four minutes we would be receiving a visitor? There was no telegram, no message of any kind."

He smiled, thinly. "You did not hear the clatter of a brougham several minutes ago? It slowed as it passed us--obviously as the driver identified our door, then it sped up and went past, up into the Marylebone Road. There is a crush of carriages and taxicabs letting off passengers at the railway station and at the waxworks, and it is in that crush that anyone wishing to alight without being observed will go. The walk from there to here is but four minutes. . . ."

He glanced at his pocket watch, and as he did so I heard a tread on the stairs outside.

"Come in, Lestrade," he called. "The door is ajar, and your sausages are just coming out from under the grill."

Continues...




Excerpted from Fragile Things
by Neil Gaiman
Copyright © 2006 by Neil Gaiman.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 154 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(83)

4 Star

(42)

3 Star

(21)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 154 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The salt in the sugar bowl

    I'm really rather torn on this one. In many respects I love Neil Gaiman. He's an excellent writer with a wonderful twist of the imagination. And no one writes a delicately creepy story like he does. I enjoyed much of Fragile Things immensely. But I could really do without the occasional sexual perversions. The kind that sicken you and leave the after-images burned into your brain.

    So, it's up to you. There are some great stories and poems in there (several of which I'll probably bring to read around the campfire this summer), but I thought I'd give fair warning.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Wondrous

    Delicately crafted beautiful stories that resonate deeply. Unknown depths within. Every piece is a winner, but I specifically liked the Vampire Tarot, the Epicurean Club, and Strange Little Girls. He's one of the most gifted writers of this century and this collection only disappoints when it ends. Marvelous, literally filled with marvels. Wonderful, literally filled with wonders. Like an exquisite box of chocolates; a sensual journey in each bite but very different, each to each.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fragile Things

    If you enjoy Ray Bradbury you will enjoy Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things: a short story collection for the unusual. There is a tale about two young men who meet the most unusual women at a party to Susan from C.L. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to Strange Little Girls which pay homage to a song (peformed by Tori Amos). Some stories were a little to follow but in any collection there is always one or two that may leave the reader perplexed. A good read with the tale of the "Twilight Zone" thrown in.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    GREAT BOOK

    Great book by a great Author. I love everything Neil Gaiman has ever done.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008

    Magic

    I adore Neil Gaiman and was deeply moved by this collection. I have often said Neil is a master storyteller and this stands as testament to that. His imagery is truly inspiring and beautiful. Some stories made me giggle childishly, others made me weep, others I had to read twice to fully comprehend their depth, some chilled me to the soul and others simply made me dream. The poetry was fun and wonderful. This is a must have book, not just for gaiman fans but anyone who simply enjoys good stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2007

    Outstanding...as usual

    Mr. Gaiman shows us once again that he is the master of many mediums with his latest collection of short stories. Very highly recommended. I read each of the stories in utter awe.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2013

    Some people always used to tell me that I was a bit odd with the

    Some people always used to tell me that I was a bit odd with the things I like. :) Fragile Things is one of those things.. and I absolutely, terribly LOVE it. :) I am always blown away by Neil Gaiman’s works and this copy never failed me, yet again. :)




    Mesmerizing, chilling and bewilderedly eccentric. This definitely swept me off your feet.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    Loved it.

    I'm a fan of short stories especially when I'm chasing a toddler. Easy to put down and come back to and jump right back in. Interedting enough to even hold my attention. Good read overall.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Wonderful

    A beautiful group of short stories blending science fiction , fantasy, and the wonderment of life. Mr. Gaiman's voice and love of storytelling speaks through every one. These stories are a pleasure to read, eerily frightening, tender, and amazing .

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Excellent

    I think this is the best collection I have read since Fitzgerald and Hughes

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2006

    lukewarm

    Neil, as his fans call him, is a decent novelist but compared to his earlier works this collection of short stories and poetry leaves little of the awe and wonderment which has become his trademark. Fans will be satisfied but others will probably wonder what all the fuss about him is about.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

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    Fantstic

    FRAGILE THINGS is the third ¿short fiction and wonders¿ anthology (see SMOKE AND MIRRORS and ADVENTURES IN THE DREAM TRADE). The collection consists of thirty-one shorts and poems that run the gamut of creep, fear and scare. The best tale is the haunting shocker October in the Chair though some might insist the return of Shadow from American Gods in the short novella ¿Monarch of the Glen¿ or Holmes in ¿A Study in Emerald¿ are superior. Overall this is a fine compilation (the poems feel out of place as fans will say nevermore to them) with the theme seeming to out eerie Poe with speculative fiction that crosses horror, science fiction, alternate history, mystery and fantasy lines. Neil Gaiman¿s fans will want to read at least the short stories and the novella.------------------------ Harriet Klausner

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