Book: Fragile Things

"Fragile Things" by Neil GaimanA mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night…

Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams–and nightmares…

In a Hugo Award-winning story, a great detective must solve a most unsettling royal murder in a strangely altered Victorian England…

These marvelous creations and more showcase the unparalleled invention and storytelling brilliance–and the terrifyingly dark and etnertaining wit–of the incomparable Neil Gaiman. By turns delightful, disturbing, and diverting, Fragile Things is a gift of literary enchantment from one of the most original writers of our time.

I’ve been meaning to read this book for over a year now, but for some reason I never got round to doing it. As evidenced by the photo, I haven’t even gotten around to doing the blue background thing yet on the books I read. But that’s really not the point of the post, is it? So let’s get on with talking about Fragile Things.

Reading Neil Gaiman’s introduction, I thought the book was a collection of his award-winning short stories. It’s not. Not that any of them are any less better than the ones they’re with. You kind of know that when you’re reading a Gaiman story, he’s given it his best–whether or not it won an award. That said though, I’m not a fan of all the stories in this book. I thought some of them cut off way too early. And some of them made little sense to me. But then, this is Neil Gaiman.

I don’t want to subscribe to the idea that if something is hard to understand, it must be good. That’s the wrong way to go about things, I think. Sadly, it’s a popular notion here in the Philippines. But the thing is, I really do think the stories in Fragile Things are good–even if I don’t understand most of it completely. Why? Well, mostly because the stories are well told. And because they evoke emotions and memories.

I like reading stories aloud. To myself. When there are other people, I tend to keep quiet. But I like hearing the words. Also, it’s good practice for public speaking–which I don’t really do a lot of. Oh, wait–where was I? Ah, right. Reading stories aloud helps make a story more tangible for me–at the same time, it keeps me tethered to reality. When I read quietly, I get absorbed so much into the story that I forget things, like eating and sleeping… So yeah, I sometimes read aloud–especially when alone.

And by reading aloud, you get a grasp of how well a story is written. Neil Gaiman’s texts have a rolling quality to it. They’re so easy to say. They literally roll off your tongue. If you have a Gaiman book nearby, give it a try. You’ll see what I mean.

The rolling quality of his text makes it melodic. And the melody makes it easier for you to travel to his world–wherever it may be. And that’s why, I think, his stories are very well-written–even if I don’t completely understand it. Because Gaiman isn’t just a writer. He’s a storyteller. And this book, has some of his most well-written stories.

And I didn’t really talk about the book at all, did I?

No matter. Let’s see what other people have said about the book instead:
The Green Man Review
Jar of Juice
The Short Review

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