I could write a thesis defense about why Neil Gaiman is one of the best living authors out there. I probably won’t write a review of American Gods or Neverwhere, since I’ve already read them, but I recently read Fragile Things. It reminded me of just how wonderful his writing is.
Many authors started out writing short stories before they write a novel. They’re the perfect medium to develop an understanding of succinct, driving, and focused stories. Dozens of magazines publish short stories. They’re a popular medium for aspiring writers and veterans alike. Stephen King wrote many, many short stories before publishing Carrie. One of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut books is his collection, Welcome to the Monkey House. Since Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, it makes sense that Fragile Things is one of my absolute favorites.
This is a collection of several dozen short stories and poems he wrote over the years, including the Hugo Award-winning short story “A Study in Emerald” and Hugo Award-nominated “How to Talk to Girls at Parties.” Every single tale reads with an effortless grace that descends into a slightly mysterious realm that captivates the imagination in a way that no one else can. His prose blends the everyday world with something magical that lies just below the surface.
The other incredible thing about his writing is the literary depth every single story possesses. This holds especially true for his short stories, which pack so much into only a few thousand words that, upon first reading, you only skim the surface. Every word from October’s story carries immense weight. You’ll feel the tingling realization that the girls at the party aren’t what they seem. At the end of each story, you’re left with more questions than answers. Gaiman’s work shines in a way that can only be matched by writers who have been writing their whole lives.
I think I’ll leave it at that. There’s far too much brilliance in this collection for me to do it justice in a review such as this. Maybe I’ll write a blog post about it and delve into some of my favorites from the collection. All I can say is this: go read this book. It’s fantastic.
If you’ve read any of the pieces from Fragile Things, let me know what your thoughts are.
I’m always looking for new stories, no matter the medium. If you know of any great books, movies, or video games that you absolutely love, let me know in the comments and, if I haven’t checked it out, I’ll add it to the list!