fantasy · review

Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman

“There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.”

 

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Blurb: “Let me tell you stories of the months of the year, of ghosts and heartbreak, of dread and desire. Of after-hours drinking and unanswered phones, of good deeds and bad days, of trusting wolves and how to talk to girls. There are stories within stories, whispered in the quiet of the night, shouted above the roar of the day, and played out between lovers and enemies, strangers and friends. But all, all are fragile things made of just 26 letters arranged and rearranged to form tale and imaginings which will dazzle your senses, haunt your imagination and move you to the very depths of your souls.”

Whether you’ve read his works or not, you’ve most likely heard of Neil Gaiman. It was shortly after seeing the stop motion film Coraline that I learnt Neil Gaiman was responsible for this dark and creepy, yet intriguing story. I recently started delving into his other works: I listened to Neverwhere on audiobook because he is one of the rare authors who does his own audiobook readings.

Fragile Things is a collection of “short fictions and wonders” as there is a variety of prose, poems and other forms of writing. This book comes with an introduction in which Neil goes through each story and tells the reader how his ideas for each came about and why he decided to write them which is something I found really interesting as not many short story anthologies have that as an addition.

I had two favourites.
The first is called “October In The Chair” in which the months of the year are people. October has a beard the colours of autumn and tells the story of a boy called Runt who meets a dead boy called Dearly. I thought it was so clever and had me hooked. This story was a practice run for a book Neil would later release called The Graveyard Book.

The second is called “The Flints Of Memory Lane” which addresses the idea of how life is not story shaped. We can’t plan out exactly what happens and when, and we don’t get that desirable perfect ending. It’s a ghost story where nothing dramatic happens, nothing is resolved and life continues. I love the point Neil was trying to make by writing this story.

Neil Gaiman’s writing is the closest I think we’ll ever get to magic. He just has this remarkable way of coming up with new and inventive creations that blow you away and leave you wishing you could write anything even close to the standard he is at. I feel that even if the initial premise doesn’t interest you, as a reader you can still get enjoyment out of reading them and will come out of the experience with a changed mind.

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