Friday, 22 November 2013

Book Review: Fragile Things

Book Review: Fragile Things
Author: Neil Gaiman
Year Published: 2006
Genre: Science fiction, Fantasy, Short stories, Poetry

I have praised Neil Gaiman for his creativity (MirrorMask) before and I have no doubt his imagination contains so much more. Fragile Things is the perfect example of how grand and endless his imagination is. Comprising of short stories and poems, this book will make you decipher the stories yourself and test your own imagination.

Confession: I don’t like Neil Gaiman’s full length novels.
I have tried dipping into American Gods and The Graveyard Book, I love the concept but hate the added little mundane works between the storyline. I’m a straight to the point and move along kind of reader. But give me his short stories (Fragile Things), TV episodes (Doctor Who), graphic novels (Sandman) and movie adoptions of his novels (Stardust) any day and I can guarantee you I will love them…. well none have failed me yet. Except Coraline the movie, I don’t like stop-motion.
Yes, I’m annoyingly picky like that.

Fragile Things bring snippets of  mysterious and brilliant, short stories into reality. There is no beginning and there is no end.
Imagine waiting for a friend on a street corner, minding your own business. You notice a man across the street leaving a book on a chair then walking away. You wonder why he left the book. Did he do it on purpose? Who is he? Then your thoughts trail to, what is in that book? Is it important? Was it left for someone else? How long will it take for someone to notice the book lying there? From there it leads to, who will pick it up? Would someone randomly take it? Will it be thrown away like trash?
You are even tempted to walk across the street to look at the book yourself in hope maybe it was left for you but you think better of it and decide not to. This insignificant event will be forgotten. But what if it was significant, maybe not to you, but to someone or something else?
These are the questions that Neil Gaiman leaves you with at the end of every short story. Under the book Fragile Things, our world is bigger, more dangerous and much more mysterious.

Personal favorite is ‘Other People’. Not wanting to ruin the story, it involves the afterlife of someone who has lived an ‘evil’ life. Evil can be found in any type of person and punishment may not be as simple as physical pain. Gaiman does a fantastic representation of what goes around comes around… in a more literal sense. How he gets these ideas in his head, we may never know.
There is also a sequel to American Gods following Shadow to Scotland, poems and a Sherlock Holmes story involving alien invasions.

Fragile Things' many story lines are short and unfinished allowing the mind to run wild. The writing is simple and unspecific to a point. Naturally, I loved it.

There is something for everyone in Fragile Things. For the readers who prefer a tale with a beginning and an end, I will not recommend this book. For the over imaginative readers out there, this book will set your mind off in all directions.
The next time you see that man, there’s definitely a lot more too it than accidentally leaving a book.

Terri's Rating: 4/5

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