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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: 12.9 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,063 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

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 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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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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By PenFriend on 9 Jan 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I found this disparate collection disappointingly weak. Narrative structure dissolves into purple prose, and women are uniformly portrayed as temptresses and unpleasant destroyers of men.
Worst, is the Narnia ' Problem of Susan' story which involves a dream sequence of laughable bad porn content. Gaiman gets a myth, turns it this way or that way, deconstructs it and reassembles it as a satire, destroying any bond of romance or sacredness which the reader might have had toward the initial theme. Narnia with added bestiality? Oooh Vicar, C.S. must be rolling in his grave.
This is an arch, self-knowing kind of trick, and Gaiman is no true magician inasmuch as he seems not to believe in magic at all, only in a conjuror's tricks.
This is somewhat sad for the reader as we vainly search for a bit of truly believed-in faery, a hint of another higher level, but all we receive are knowing winks and an arch melding of Hunter S. Thompson and Pratchett without the muscularity of either's style.
It is all rather drab as poor Harlequin has his heart eaten by a mortician's assistant we are reminded fully of what man-eating bitches fantasy women are, and how men are prey to their fancies and lusts. Sex is usually pretty perverse and unerotic, as though Gaiman has decided that it has to be depicted as slightly shocking and emotionless, like a bad magick.
I am not even sure that Gaiman means to be stereotypically sexist, he just doesn't understand this is not the only angle you can take with demonesses, vampires, goddesses and fairyfolk.
Search if you like for a grain of true magic, and there are great ideas dotted about, you will not find a true believer in the arcane, just a rather straightforward twisting of our expectations and preconceptions.
Is this a fair trick to play?
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