Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders

By: Neil Gaiman

Named after a quote brought back from a dream, Gaiman was unsure of what it meant or to whom it applied. “I think that I would rather recollect a life mis-spent on fragile things than spent avoiding moral debt.” To Gaiman, Fragile Things was a fine title for a book, after all, “people break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.”

This collection will be the first of Gaiman’s works that I do not give 5-stars. It’s also my first review without a synopsis of any of the stories. I don’t feel that I can give a synopsis to every story in the collection because it would take too long and give too much away. That’s the nature of a short story, to be concise and read in one sitting.

When looking at this collection as a whole, I feel that some stories were enjoyable and others simply fell flat. Short stories require a different kind of finesse than novels because the author has less time to say what they mean. In Gaiman’s case, sometimes his message is lost in translation while other messages lack any degree of subtlety.

Below is the list of short stories I enjoyed from the collection in the event you want to look them up individually. Some of the titles will give you a clear idea of the story’s contents. Others are as much a mystery as the tale itself.

  • A Study in Emerald                                                     
  • October in the Chair
  • Closing Time
  • Other People
  • Instructions
  • My Life
  • Feeders and Eaters
  • Diseasemaker’s Croup
  • Goliath
  • How to Talk to Girls at Parties
  • The Day the Saucers Came
  • Fifteen Painted Cards from a Vampire Tarot
  • Forbidden Brides in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire

Overall rating: 4

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