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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 4 February 2008
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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on 9 December 2010
I'm a new convert to Mr Gaiman, having discovered the majestic American Gods just over a year ago. Since then I have devoured all he has written (and am delighted to still have The Sandman to come - I'm assured the best has been saved to last). Just as I thought I couldn't praise him enough (having finished all the books - both adult and child), I have since decided he is even more of a master at the short story. This book is filled with wonders that nods at his loves and influences - Bradbury, Lovecraft, Poe amongst others - yet is fuelled by his own wonderful imagination. I utterly loved it and would heartily recommend it to anyone with a love of the gothic. One to be savoured for autumn and winter months only though...
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on 16 July 2016
I've thoroughly enjoyed some of Neil Gaiman's books which led me to Fragile Things. Sadly I couldn't have enjoyed this less - I found myself wanting to put it down for good after each and every page - I forced myself to keep reading hoping it was going to improve but it only got worse for me - just random, pointless nonsense (sorry - but true for me). It does have lot's of good reviews and I can't understand why - Emperor's New Clothes syndrome? The author mentioned that some of these stories were boxed in the loft for years - some things deserve to stay hidden away...
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on 31 May 2015
A selection of short musings, snippets and dark imaginings. I wouldn't really call them stories, because they are a rag tag bunch of ideas, not fully plotted or executed. I found them interesting, but strangely unsatisfying, and a bit annoying!
If you are a big fan of Neil Gaiman's work you'll enjoy getting a glimpse into how his mind works, but otherwise, I'd advise the more general reader to go for one of his full length books, where the characters are well drawn, and which I found much more satisfying.
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on 20 February 2012
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. Most are also vague, barely sketches of situations that never get resolved. Even the stories that have a clear narrative structure are often left open-ended, with space for continuing. My personal favourite is "A study in emerald", a skillfully performed Sherlock Holmes pastiche and a masterpiece of gradual revelation.
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on 9 April 2013
This is a wonderful collection of short stories. In this book we get to see the breadth of Neil Gaiman's imagination. I loved 'other people' I maybe a little slow but I did not see the ending coming. I was so caught up in the story. This is the joy of the short story format and Neil Gaiman is an expert practitioner of the art. I am going to have to check out American Gods next and experience one of his longer novels. (it's on the bookshelf waiting to be read )
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on 16 December 2016
Neil Gaiman is one of the most skilled authors writing today and, since the death of his close friend Sir Terry Pratchett, my favourite living novelist. This book is a simply delightful collection of short stories that will chill, thrill and enchant any reader.
Some are magical and whimsical, others dark and gritty, and all are utterly intriguing.
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on 16 June 2010
These are typical Neil Gaiman stories,some are clever,some make you go "urghh" but all are good.I love the way he can make something outlandish seem perfectly natural.The stories are not overly long,so can be squeezed into a short break if you want to read something other than the newspaper!
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on 21 January 2013
I can't say much more than other reviewers have, except that this book is full of wonderful and astounding stories. I read the book and found I enjoyed every story in its own way - they're witty, imaginative and different. But what else can be expected of Mr Gaiman.
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on 25 September 2007
I'm a big fan of Neil Gaiman's books so I had high expectations of another short story collection but this book left me completely cold. I particularly loved Smoke and Mirrors. Best part of a year after reading it so many of the stories still stick in my head: the wedding present, the cat, the playboy girl, the angels, snow white, the hollywood hotel, the troll and the genius 100 word santa story in particular. It is two weeks since I finished Fragile Things and I'm struggling to remember a distinct story out of it. Only the Shadow novella stands out, and then only because of its complete failure to repeat the great trick from American Gods of making the absurd believable.

Don't get me wrong, it's still Neil Gaiman so it is well written with some great lines and imagination and there are a lot of worse ways of passing a few hours but I couldn't find any of the fire and bite and connection I got from Smoke and Mirrors. The stories seemed much more similar to each other and the themes of disappearances and the ghosts/gods/monsters among us never seemed to let up to give some variety or surprise at the next one.
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