Monday, August 29, 2011Posted by Melissa (Avid Reader)
by Neil Gaiman
Short story collections tend to be pretty hit or miss for me. I adore Jhumpa Lahiri’s work, but have been disappointed by collections with numerous authors. To me, they often feel like scraps or half-baked ideas tossed together in no discernable order. But when they’re done right, each story works as a stand alone, but also flows well with the rest of the collection.
I’m a sucker for Gaiman’s work, because his stories have a way of getting under my skin, in a good way. I can’t say I loved Fragile Things, but I did love some of the individual stories it contains. Even when the story itself wasn’t memorable, some of his phrases or characters were, which is a testament to Gaiman’s skill as a storyteller.
There were some pieces I liked more than others. I didn’t care for “Keepsakes and Treasures,” but thought the Sherlock Holmes-inspired tale, “A Study in Emerald,” was wonderful. I loved “The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch," which is cheerfully dark, an odd balance only Gaiman seems to be able to pull off.
Another good one was a, spooky story, which follows a boy who runs away from home and meets a ghost. It felt like a precursor for The Graveyard Book. Fragile Things also contains a poem that I love, “Instructions,” which has since been turned into an illustrated children’s book.
This collection is best known for two stories; one featuring Shadow, the main character from American Gods, and the other is about Susan from the Narnia books. To be honest, these sections were two of my least favorite in the book, neither really worked for me.
If you’re already a fan of Gaiman’s work, I’d recommend this collection. For those hoping to try something of his, don’t start here, instead try Stardust, The Graveyard Book or the marvelous audio version of Anansi Boys.