Review of 'Fragile Things'

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

fragile_things.jpg A collection of Gaiman's short stories published previously elsewhere “Fragile Things” sticks to fiction and poetry with a treat for fans of American Gods with the inclusion of novella “The Monarch of the Glen” featuring Shadow. The introduction includes briefly, and perhaps aptly, includes introductions for each piece included here (though would have been better to include the relevant intro before each story, IMHO). The book kicks off with the unusual “A Study in Emerald” which re-imagines the Sherlock Holmes story in a very different Victorian England which other than it's occasional nods to the original material largely unsatisfactory though an intriguing conclusion.

As is his want Gaiman here focuses on the fantastic. “October in the Chair” an odd sort-of ghost story; “Closing Time” featuring an unusual tale related to the occupants of a club at closing time; in “Bitter Grounds” a man escaping from his life ends up assuming the identity of a another and taking a trip to a anthropologist convention in New Orleans; in a switch of pace “The Problem of Susan” talks about impact on the “Susan” character as the sole survivor in the “Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” series; a disturbing “Feeders and Eaters” involves an unusual case of cannibalism; “Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of Dread Desire” telling the story of a writer struggling to complete his work. In is the first and last stories in the book that most stick in my mind though all are not entirely what they seem. Interspersed amongst the stories are several poems such as “The Fairy Real”, “Going Wodwo”, “Locks” and “Instructions” which generally left me perhaps momentarily interested but generally left me unsatisfied.

A good light read for fans of Gaiman but not a collection of his best works with only a few gems.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2018-10-28

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: headline

Publication Date: 2006

ISBN: 9781472231758

Other reviewed books by Neil Gaiman:

Other reviewed books by Neil Gaiman, and Terry Pratchett: