Fragile Things

Fragile Things

Short Fictions and Wonders

Book - 2006
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"A prodigiously imaginative collection."

--New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice

" Dazzling tales from a master of the fantastic ."
--Washington Post Book World

Fragile Things is a sterling collection of exceptional tales from Neil Gaiman, multiple award-winning (the Hugo, Bram Stoker, Newberry, and Eisner Awards, to name just a few), #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Graveyard Book, Anansi Boys, Coraline, and the groundbreaking Sandman graphic novel series. A uniquely imaginative creator of wonders whose unique storytelling genius has been acclaimed by a host of literary luminaries from Norman Mailer to Stephen King, Gaiman's astonishing powers are on glorious displays in Fragile Things. Enter and be amazed!

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, c2006
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780060515225
Branch Call Number: FICTION Gaiman 2006
Characteristics: xxxi, 360 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

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Feb 22, 2021

"Fragile Things" is a collection of 25 short stories and 7 poems written by Neil Gaiman.

Most of the stories have dark - even macabre - themes. One tells how demons are created in Hell; in another, a man discovers that he has been living his entire life in a computer simulation; still another involves a boy's sexual enslavement by an ultra-rich man.

Some are more fully fleshed out than others, as if Gaiman began a longer novel before giving up; but these are worth including because Gaiman has such a gift for language and knows how to tell a story, even if it is a partial story.

Each story is independent of the others, but some exist in the same universe. For example, the wealthy Mr. Alice and his employee Mr. Smith appear in two different stories.

A couple satires or homages to the writings of other authors - C.S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia" and Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes"; and a few are inspired by art and music heard by Gaiman.

My favourite entry was the longest and final story in the collection - "The Monarch of the Glen", which featured Shadow of "American Gods" and takes place a couple years after that novel.

Nearly everything in this book has appeared elsewhere and I had already read a few of the stories, but I enjoyed them again this time around.

benjamin_carlson Nov 26, 2019

A wonderful selection of Neil Gaiman's imagination. There are the famous ones; A Study in Emerald, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, The Problem of Susan, Harlequin Valentine. The Monarch of the Glen, the sequel to American Gods. But the true allure is the sheer variety on display.
Everyone should read this collection. Every reader will find their own particular favorite stories. Mine were "Fifteen Painted Cards from a Vampire Tarot", which is technically fifteen short stories about vampires with a spicy science fiction twist, and "Goliath", a story about an awkwardly tall man who wanted to be a pilot but ended up a bookkeeper, set in The Matrix.

Feb 25, 2019

Overall I enjoyed it, but some stories were too short and others were really creepy. The story of Shadow at the end was really good.

mvkramer Dec 08, 2016

Whimsical and horrifying by turns. A great collection of shorts. My favorite is "A Study in Emerald" - Sherlock Holmes meets H.P. Lovecraft with a twist!

Apr 24, 2016

I can't actually speak to any of the stories, because there's a problem in the formatting of this title. The chapters are numbered for the first several hours and seem to be arbitrarily split into 3 minute sections; it's not clear where the introduction ends and where any of the stories begin or end. Is it a 10 minute introduction that I can live through or a 1 hour and 11 minute slog that is only slightly preferable to death?

JCLAmyF Nov 20, 2014

Neil Gaiman's work is always a treat. This book is full of short stories (and a few poems) that show the wide range of Gaiman's imagination and skill. There are stories with just a hint of magic, creepy stories with ghosts, stories about the dangers of magic... but they all revolve around a human heart and therefore are the best sort of fantasy.

Because this book showcases so many stories from Gaiman, there is some variation in quality, but it struck me as a great way to get the full scope of this author. Even the stories here that seemed the weakest were still worth the read for the imagination and daring the show in composition and subject.

hania4987 Feb 02, 2014

"There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.”

If I had to use one word to describe this collection of short stories, it would have to be provocative. I love short stories and these are absolutely wonderful in creating a sinister atmosphere and memorable characters. It evokes stories from Edgar Allen Poe/ Ray Bradbury / The Twilight Zone

Jul 28, 2013

A wonderful varied collection. Enjoyed each story and was captivated by his style of writing.

Mar 06, 2012

A really great collection read by the author. Not everything in it is memorable, but Mr. Gaiman has such an excellent reading style he could probably read a cookbook and it would be nice to listen to. Oddly enough one of the more memorable parts of this audiobook is his reading of the introduction. Introductions to collections such as this can be about as enjoyable as a grocery shopping list ("I wrote this, then that, then Joe McJoejoe said 'Hey, write this!' so I did. After that I wrote...") but Mr. Gaiman reads his introduction as if he's chit-chatting with the listener and recollecting it from a few notes. (A few notes written in dark brown shiny ink on a slightly musty sheet of parchment, of course.)

JCLKathleenB Nov 01, 2010

"Instructions" is a wonderful poem, being instructions for those who find themselves in a fairytale. Neil Gaiman is one of my all-time favorite authors.

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Add a Quote
May 29, 2009

"We owe it to ourselves to tell stories, as people simply, not as father and daughter. I tell it to you for the hundredth time." - a quotation from the poem "Locks".

May 26, 2009

“Know that diamonds and roses are as uncomfortable when they tumble from one's lips as toads and frogs: colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.”

- a quotation for the poem "Instructions"

Dec 14, 2008

"And if I could," my father wrote to me,

huge as a bear himself, when I was younger,

"I would dower you with experience, without experience."

and I, in my turn, would pass that on to you.

But we make our own mistakes. We sleep unwisely.

- Locks

Dec 14, 2008

"Know that diamonds and roses

are as uncomfortable when they tumble from

one's lips as toads and frogs:

colder, too, and sharper, and they cut."

From the poem "Instructions".


Add Age Suitability
Apr 25, 2015

ofperilousseas thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Dec 14, 2008

davidharvie thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


Add a Summary
Dec 14, 2008

We owe it do each other to tell stories, as people simply. This collection of short stories and poems does just that.

For note is "Instructions", a poem of instructions about what to do if you find yourself in a fairy tale.

"Locks" is retelling of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" as Neil Gaiman would recite to his own daughter.


Add Notices
mvkramer Dec 08, 2016

Frightening or Intense Scenes: This being Neil Gaiman, many stories have imagery and scenes that are creepy, violent, or disconcerting.

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