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Fragile Things [Paperback]

Neil Gaiman
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

5 April 2007

A dazzling book of short stories from one of modern fiction's greatest and most imaginative writers Neil Gaiman.

The distinctive genius of Neil Gaiman 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 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 book reveals one of the world's most gifted storytellers at the height of his powers.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (5 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755334140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755334148
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Neil Gaiman is a tour de force of creative talent. He is the bestselling author of Coraline and Stardust, both of which are major motion films. Neil also co-wrote the script for Beowulf starring Anthony Hopkins and Angeline Jolie. He is the creator/writer of the award-winning Sandman comic series and has written several books for children. His latest title, The Graveyard Book, won the Teenage Booktrust Prize 2009. Neil has been immortalised in song by Tori Amos, and is a songwriter himself. His official website now has more than one million unique visitors each month, and his online journal is syndicated to thousands of blog readers every day.

Product Description


'Predominantly dark, the stories are occasionally whimsical and satirical, and at times humorous, but the book's underlying theme is fragility and how people, dreams and hearts are so easily broken' (Sun Herald)

'The collection also boasts lush prose...and a winning faith in the enchantment of stories. Expect the unexpected. Then savor the luscious chills.' (Kirkus Reviews)

'Gaiman has a deft touch for suprise and inventiveness, and there are inspired moments' (Publishers Weekly)

'Immensely entertaining ... Combines the anarchy of Douglas Adams with a Wodehousian generosity of spirit' (Susanna Clarke)

Book Description

A dazzling book of short stories from one of modern fiction's greatest and most imaginative writers

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreams and unusual realities 25 Nov 2006
Gaiman is a writer of rich and vivid imagination. This collection of short stories, short fiction and poems demonstrate his talent on every page. Hovering between reality and fantasy he has created a distinctive world peopled with ordinary people, young and old, who meet up with ghosts, zombies and other creatures. With great skill and ease Gaiman creates credible characters and compelling scenarios.

Some "fragile things" describe dreams, others move effortlessly from actuality to visions of otherworldliness often taking the reader by surprise. Most of the stories in this collection have a serious, some a macabre, side to them. At the same time, humour and irony are natural companions. There is the young boy, ignored by his family and peers, who finally meets a friend and companion as he runs away to start a new life. A Harlequin character reinvents himself with every real life Valentine heart he sends to an object of his desire. Storytelling is a theme for many of the characters in the collection. In "October in the Chair" we listen in as every month competes for the best story that the others haven't heard before. Many of the stories were inspired by other writers and friends and fiction pieces were written for their magazines or anthologies.

While each of the stories has been published previously, it is a treat to have them collected in one volume. Every piece stands by itself, yet, when read contiguously each adds elements to a whole creating for the reader a complex tapestry of imaginary lives. Anybody who has read other Gaiman books will welcome his volume. For newcomers, Fragile Things is a great introduction to his work. [Friederike Knabe]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Offbeat collection from a great storyteller 17 July 2008
This might be an unusual review because this is the first Gaiman book I've read, bought it to see if all the fuss was justified, so I came with no preconceptions of what a Neil Gaiman book should be like. I'll certainly be looking for more of this.

What you get is a collection of stories and a handful of poems, mostly previously published in themed anthologies, on websites or musician's tour booklets, with a couple specifically dedicated (to Ray Bradbury and Gaiman's daughter). So the subject matter and tone is tremendously varied.
Gaiman is a master storyteller, writes beautifully, and what shines through from this anthology is his deep love of storytelling in all its forms, from fairy tales to the Arabian Nights, the Comedia dell'arte and Beowulf.

Is it any good ? The best stuff here is magnificent. "October in the Chair" will feel like settling into an old armchair for Bradbury fans, "A Study in Emerald" crosses Sherlock Holmes with Lovecraft in a way which is genuinely fresh and surprising, "Harlequin Valentine" (my favourite) traces Harlequin and Columbine's on-off romance in small-town America, while "The Monarch of the Glen" reworks an old story with subtlety and pathos. And "Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire" is a very funny send-up of gothic horror.

So,I'll certainly be looking out for more of this !
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting mix that's easy to read 26 Jun 2007
By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE
Of the collection, I'd already read How To Speak To Girls At Parties and A Study In Emerald before and of the two, I think that A Study In Emerald is the stronger story. For those who don't know, A Study In Emerald is a hybrid of the Sherlock Holmes stories and Locecraft's Call of Cthulu, set in an alternative world where the Old Ones rule over man and one of their number has been murdered. Gaiman nails the tone and the narrative voice and the story itself is fascinating. How To Speak To Girls At Parties, by contrast, reads like fluff - it's amusing but the ending is weak.

With those stories that were new to me, I particularly enjoyed The Problem Of Susan, which looks at what happened to the fourth Pevensie sibling after her brothers and sister were permanently taken to Narnia. Gaiman makes Narnia a much darker place and subverts the antagonism between Aslan and the White Witch and whilst the reporter is a little forced at times, Susan herself is very believable. Harlequin Valentine is an entertaining take on the relationship between Harlequin and Columbine, with a neat twist at the end that makes you feel sorry for the trickster. Sunbird, a story that Gaiman wrote as a present for his daughter, Holly, is an amusing look at an epicuran society in their search for the ultimate gastronomic experience. Gaiman uses a stylised narrative that should jar, but doesn't and again, it has a very neat ending.

I didn't particularly enjoy Diseasemaker's Croup (the style's fine and I can see what he's doing with it, but it just didn't grab me) or Pages From A Journal Found In A Shoebox In A Greyhound Bus Somewhere Between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Louisville, Kentucky (which is too much of a stream of consciousness story that again, didn't grab me).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor 4 Feb 2008
By xenofan VINE VOICE
I really loved Gaiman's previous collection of short stories in "Smoke and Mirrors", but this was a horrible dissapointment in comparison. I found many stories felt tedious and slow, with little reward for the effort. Most had a mildly interesting point or idea to them, but none felt particularly well executed. I am glad this is not my first and only experience of Gaiman's writing, or else I would never wish to read anything from him again. Gaiman is capable of much better work - just not here. Check out Smoke and Mirrors if you haven't already done so - it is a much better reflection of the talent and imagination that Gaiman wields.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars wide variety but...
Some excellent stuff here, including poems.Most of it entertaining, but with the odd story in which he seemed to be trying to cram in every sort of depravity.
Published 22 days ago by SK Risbury
5.0 out of 5 stars fragile things
Good book of short stories. Would recommend to neil gaiman fans but would recommend one of his novels for first timers.
Published 9 months ago by Daisy
5.0 out of 5 stars Short fictions & wonders
Excellent book, well written and an excellent collection of short stories and poetry. Gaiman is still as impressive as ever, a sure-hit with fans of his work and an excellent... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Rhys Waterman
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful collection
This is a wonderful collection of short stories. In this book we get to see the breadth of Neil Gaiman's imagination. Read more
Published 12 months ago by A. Browne
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
I can't say much more than other reviewers have, except that this book is full of wonderful and astounding stories. Read more
Published 15 months ago by KME
2.0 out of 5 stars Narnia- the Unexpurgated version?
I found this disparate collection disappointingly weak. Narrative structure dissolves into purple prose, and women are uniformly portrayed as temptresses and unpleasant destroyers... Read more
Published 15 months ago by PenFriend
5.0 out of 5 stars neil gaiman is great
Brilliant, fantastic, funny, quirky, and thought provoking. A great selection of brilliant short stories for fans of this entertaining author
Published 17 months ago by diane green
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Formatting
Any book by Neil Gaiman is worth buying and reading he is an amazing storyteller. However I have given this book one star because of the formatting of the kindle edition, every... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Unclosed stories
A few of the stories in this collection admit of humour and whimsy, but many are quite disturbing, the protagonists subject to pain and abuse beyond measure. Read more
Published on 20 Feb 2012 by Kai-Mikael Jää-Aro
5.0 out of 5 stars Always a brilliant read
Neil Gaiman is a wonderful author. This collection of short stories is a brilliant read. It arrived within days of my ordering it and it was in mint condition. I'm quite pleased.
Published on 9 Jan 2012 by Amanda
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