Adult, Books

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (Review from the Dreggs)

Well, it is the work of Mr. Gaiman so it has to be good.  This high school review, perhaps not so much.

Title: Fragile Things
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Page #: 355
Genre: Anthology of Short Stories and Poems, Horror, Mystery

This compendium of 31 short stories and poems is overall an interesting read.  Each story was completely different from the last.  It ranged from an old fashioned detective story that reminded me very much of Sherlock Holmes to a story about a mysterious one night circus to zombie girl scout like coffee sellers to a story where the months personified tell their favorite stories.  Each story was interesting and unique though there were some I could have gone without reading.  Due to the sheer number of components to each story and the number of them I think that I will review the best and worst stories in the book in further detail.

My favorite story is titled: A Study In Emerald.  The narrator is an army vet who takes up residence with a doctor who has mysterious guests every now and again.  The doctor solves certain problems for these guests that do not seem so medically involved but more mysterious.  The setting is a twisted London in what I would say is around the same time as Sherlock Holmes as it is described, but there are details that make it seem a much darker and twisted place than in reality.  One specific inquiry comes from a police office and this is the first time the doctor allows our guest to assist on one of these adventures and the plot takes of from there.  The whole thing had a very Sherlock Holmsey feeling to it from the banter between the characters to the doctor’s explanation of his clues to the ending.  I happen to be a fan of mystery and this was a good one.  I did not see the ending coming and wish there was more to the story than just the 25 pages it takes up.  It kept me turning the pages and always wanting more.

My least favorite was The Flints of Memory Lane.  I could have gone my whole life without reading this short recounting of a memory.  I saw no point in the story what so ever.  While the other stories were intriguing and creepy this story just did not stand in comparison.  The fact that it was a meager 4 pages long means that I did not waste too much of my life on it and the many other stories make up for it, but I just did not see the point to it at all, and that may just be me.  This story is just a recounting of happenstance this man had when he was younger.  On his way to a friend’s house he sees a gypsy woman at the end of his drive.  The mystery of the gypsy woman is not explained.  There is no conflict and no resolution just a sense of mystery unsolved.  It is barely introduced and there was definitely no time to really resolve it.  Utterly pointless and a waste of space in the book.

All in all the stories were definitely on the creepy side, but what else is to be expected from Neil Gaiman.  Creepy children, creepy ghosts, creepy villains and even creepy protagonists.  They keep you on your toes.  I would recommend reading the book for the sheer intrigue and the way the book makes you think about the ideas imposed and the misfortunes that fall to certain characters and how they react to them.  All in all a worthy read and an interesting collection by an imaginative writer.

ehhh.  At least its a review right?

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