Monday, October 1, 2007

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman


What's left to say about Neil Gaiman? There won't be any surprises here. Fragile Things is another masterpiece by the master of modern fantasy. For those who don't know, Fragile Things is another collection of Neil Gaiman's short fiction and poetry. This is my second journey into his short stories this year. My first was with his book, Smoke and Mirrors which I adored. In fact, I'd place Smoke and Mirrors higher on my list of favorite Gaiman books than Fragile Things. This isn't to say that the stories in Fragile Things weren't superb, I just enjoyed the ones in Smoke and Mirrors even more.

But this review is focusing on Fragile Things! Once again, he starts off the book with a wonderful introduction in which he gives some background on each one of the stories and poems in the book which I think is so cool. It adds a special little touch to each story to know why it was written or the inspiration for it..."lagniappe" as we call it in New Orleans. For Smoke and Mirrors I gave detailed descriptions for each story that I enjoyed, and I'm not going to do that for this one, because this review would be ridiculously long. But I really did enjoy every story in this book! Not all of them were favorites, but each one was an enjoyable read.

Gaiman's main gift is that his stories are so unique. They aren't something that you've heard before. Even his retelling of classic tales become brand new. He's a writer who can have the month of October tell a story, can personify an albums worth of Tori Amos songs, can perfectly describe the atmosphere of New Orleans on a muggy night, can create a beautiful poem that you want stenciled onto your walls, tell countless stories that all haunt and remain vivid, and best of all they're all packaged neatly into one beautiful book with a novella at the end that revisits Shadow from my favorite novel of his, American Gods.

I don't do well with short stories usually, but Gaiman makes anything work. I just love reading his short stories and hope that we have more collections to see from him in the future...though of course some more novels would be nice too. I'm anxiously awaiting the Graveyard Book now! So guess what...this actually concludes the RIP challenge for me! Well, it concludes my official reads. I signed up for 6 official reads, so I'm done my obligation. Now, I'm reading just for fun and will continue to read nothing but bonus RIP reads for the rest of the month of October!

23 comments:

Eva said...

I agree that Smoke and Mirrors (I almost abbreviated that S&M but thought better of it) ranks higher for me as far as the collection, but I just adored a couple of the stories from FT. My favourite was the October one! I also really liked the tarot deck sketches. And one other that's not coming to mind. I cannot wait for his new novel to come out either; I read the chapter of it in Wizards, and I think it's going to be amazing!

Eva said...

Ok, commenting about poppets on your other post made me remember the other story I liked so much. The Harlequine one of course!

Nymeth said...

Congratulations on finishing the challenge! And good luck now with all the extras :P

I also like Smoke and Mirrors a bit more, probably, but I also really love this one. "The Monarch of the Glenn" alone is a masterpiece. And then there's "Sunbird", one of my favourite of his stories, and "October in the Chair", and the list goes on.

Debi said...

Wonderful photo, Chris! And wonderful review as well...you've now got me tempted to substitute this one for the book of Poe stories I was going to read. Ahhh...so many good books out there.

DesLily said...

congrats of finishing the challenge and it's only Oct 2nd! Lots of time for more books!

Chris said...

Eva, S&M! Ha, I'll have to start using that one...I can't wait for The Graveyard Book either! To be honest, his story is the only one that's really been memorable for me so far out of Wizards...take that back, there was the one with the girl who saw colors..that one was cool...and I liked the Elijah story, but his is by far the best so far. Ah, yes, the Harlequin story is Harlequin Valentine! That's one of my favorites too and it's based on a Lisa Snellings-Clark sculpture actually! Every now and then she offers some of her pieces that inspired the group of stories that that one came from but they're usually $150 a piece...well worth it, but I can't afford it :/

Nymeth, Thanks :) I'd love to get all of the extras read, but we'll see if that happens!

You listed all of my favorites ;) Go figure! Monarch of the Glenn was amazing...I kept wondering "where is this going", and it definitely didn't disappoint. I'd love another American Gods or Neverwhere type of novel. I love his YA, don't get me wrong, but I crave his adult fiction! Sunbird is an amazing story! It's stories like that that just show how much of a genius the man is and October in the Chair is just beautiful. Bitter Grinds was another favorite of mine because he described the feel and the essence of New Orleans at 2AM perfectly! I have never had an easier time visualizing a story in my head. I was so happy with this collection!

Debi, Thanks :) You should've seen the ridiculous mess I went through setting up the photo...I swear, I'd be put away if I wasn't home alone when I took my book photos! Carl would smack me upside the head if he heard me say this (or maybe not), but I'd pick this collection over Poe! Don't get me wrong, I love Poe, and The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Masque of the Red Death and Annabel Lee are some of my favorite works, but these were just so good!! If you have a copy nearby, read it!

Deslily, You really beat me on this one!! When'd you finish it? September 2nd?? ;)

DesLily said...

Ummmm I finished my FIFTH book sept 26 ..heh.. but 3 were smaller books.. then wizards then 13th tale. I sent for a used copy of MOOR.. if I get it in time I may try to read that and add number 6. Right now I'm reading Palace of Laughter.. I tried to read The Wizard..read 50 pages and it's not grabbing me in the least so I put it down and started this other book. That disappointed me because I got the Wizard and the Knight in hardback and I can see I won't read them.. don't like the writing at all..nothing grabs me.

Chris said...

I hate it when that happens Pat! What a bummer. Doesn't it bug you to have books that you won't read laying around? I can't stand that, lol...At least the cover art is cool for those two, so you have something pretty to look at ;) Palace of Laughter...that sounds cool! I love the title! What's MOOR?

DesLily said...

Here's a link to The Moor...

http://www.amazon.com/Moor-Suspense-Featuring-Russell-Sherlock/dp/0312427395/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-2266737-2392442?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191413855&sr=8-1

it's coming out in paperback but I ordered a used hardback.. It seems to be a sort of spin off on Hounds of the Baskervilles (with new owners of the home itself) I loved the old Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone, so thought this might work for RIP..including shipping I got it for under 6.00.. so if I don't like it ..it won't matter much lol. but I think it will be a good read for RIP

jean pierre said...

after reading stephanie's step by step reviews i am now veritably salivating over the prospect of reading this. now i'm frothing...! :)

this is definitely the first book i will buy myself, when i next have an opportunity to get one!

keep up the gaiman love (that sounds a bit weird... but you know what i mean!)

Stephanie said...

I will continue to gush about this book, until the end of this challenge!! I am loving it so far. Now...I haven't read Smoke & Mirrors yet, so of course, Fragile Things ranks really high!! Since so many people say that Smoke and Mirrors is better (and I find that hard to believe!), it's definitely going on my list!!

October in the Chair and the gothic tale (which has the huge title - I just loved the irony of the whole thing) are still my favorites so far....but with 1/2 the book left, there is room for more!!

Rhinoa said...

Glad you enjoyed this, I am looking forward to getting to it probably next year. Well done on finishing the challenge so early!

Chris said...

Deslily, It sounds like an awesome book! You know what that means right?...well, no...I'll wait until your review before adding it to the wishlist ;)

JP, Can't say enough good about this one. I did the whole step by step review of each story I liked for Smoke and Mirrors but it was such a long post! Suffice it to say that nearly all of the stories and poems in this collection were masterpieces. I truly loved them. Gaiman love is never in short supply on this blog...as Carl has said, he has been known to cause man-crushes, lol!

Stephanie, October in the Chair was so good! I loved that one. I forgot about that. You have a whole other book of Gaiman short stories still waiting for you! Gush away, I'm enjoying reading your thoughts on them :)

Rhinoa, LOL, you sound like me talking already about what you're going to read next year! I have the rest of my reading clearly mapped out for me already for the rest of this year and probably for at least the first 3 months of 2008...that's just sad. Hope you enjoy this one as much as I did when you get around to it! Very unique stories, and all quite fun!

jean pierre said...

"been known to cause man crushes"! :D

Carl V. said...

I probably am on the same side in thinking that Smoke and Mirrors has more favorites for me in it, but I have read this collection once and listened to my audio copy twice and each time I've loved many of the stories more and more and certainly many of these have become favorites. The odd, long-titled Faceless Slaves.... story is a tremendous favorite of mine considering that I am a fan of gothic horror, a fan of British humor, and this one just touched exactly the right cord with me.

Chris said...

Carl, Yeah, the Faceless Slaves story was awesome! And to think that it was turned down countless times! That's one thing I love about his short story collections...he gives the back stories to each story in the introduction. Faceless Slaves....seems to be a favorite for many people and it seems to be the one that he had the most trouble getting published!

Carl V. said...

If you get a chance to listen to the audio of it I think you'll love it even more. To hear it with his pacing, etc. was wonderful!

Chris said...

Carl, One of these days I'm going to break down and buy an audiobook of Gaiman's. I listened to the first page and a half of The Graveyard Book last night through the link on his latest blog entry and was enthralled!! I can't wait for that one!

Booklogged said...

Chris, my Sage reader isn't working. It didn't indicate that you had a new post. I decided to check anyway. Lo and behold you have several new posts. Congratulations on finishing the RIP Challenge. It's so much fun that it hardly even feels like a challenge.

I still need to read Gaiman's short stories. Something to look forward to.

Chris said...

Booklogged, I feel the same way! This challenge is hardly a challenge :p it's been so much fun. If it weren't for all these other challenges I'd just stay with this genre forever I think!

best prices on phentermine said...

HWzTY4 Nice Article.

ordering meridia online said...

Wonderful blog.

ccsc worcester ma credit said...

Good job!