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Fragile Things Paperback – 5 Apr 2007

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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: 12.8 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,921 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

Review

'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


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Friederike Knabe on 25 Nov. 2006
Format: Hardcover
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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE on 26 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew de Salis on 17 July 2008
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sir Barnabas VINE VOICE on 6 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm generally a fan of Neil Gaiman's but didn't really enjoy this offering. I get the impression that it was put together more as an excuse to release the final story, "The Monarch of The Glen" where we once more meet Shadow, the "hero" of American Gods, rather than because of any peculiar merit in the stories and poems. If you are new to Gaiman's work don't start here - go straight to American Gods.

Still, whatever I may think of this particular collection, one can't help but envy NG's spectacular imagination.
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