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Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders (American Gods #1.5 included)

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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  31,953 ratings  ·  2,193 reviews
In this dazzling collection of more than twenty-five pieces of short fiction, including a novella featuring the hero of his masterpiece American Gods, internationally bestselling author Neil Gaiman charts the terrain between life and death, perception and reality, darkness and light. From an alternate-universe Victorian England to months of the year sitting around chatting ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published October 28th 2006 by Sound Library (first published September 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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s.penkevich
Jan 30, 2012 s.penkevich rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young and old and inbetween
Recommended to s.penkevich by: practically everyone
’We owe it to each other to tell stories’
For years I’ve heard the name Neil Gaiman passed about, weighted with heavy praise, and have always promised myself to read him. Earlier this fall, after hearing him speak on NPR, I sat down with a copy of Coraline, and hungrily read it in one sitting. Despite the novel being intended for an audience much greener than I, I couldn’t help but be hypnotized by the charismatic voice and magical delivery and I renewed my promise to return to this author as soo
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Whitaker
The two stars was a compromise. This book is a mixed bag of short stories and poems. In the Harry Potter books, there is a kind of sweet called Bertie Potts Every Flavour Jelly Beans. Sometimes you get something yummy like Raspberry Cream Chocolate or Honey Lemon Lime with a hint of Ginger or Vodka Tonic with Mentholated Cigarette Chaser. Other times you get Snot or Cat's Vomit. This book was like that. Unfortunately, this assortment contained more of the Warthog's Spyhillated Rectum or Seal Poo ...more
Monique
I love Neil Gaiman. He is brilliant, imaginative, and abso-friggin-lutely weird, and I love him for it. And this book of short stories and prose, Fragile Things , is by far my most favorite compendium of his.

Fragile Things is a collection of oddities, retellings, poetry, spin-offs, and queer creations of Neil Gaiman's colorful imagination. Some of the stories have been published elsewhere, like Sunbird and October In The Chair , which were included in his M Is For Magic compilation, and some
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Jason Koivu
It seems wrong and somewhat sad that my favorite Gaiman book is not one of his many heralded novels, but a collection of short stories. Mind you, Fragile Things is a great collection of short stories!

Some of the content herein is much more "adult" than a good deal of his other work, which can tend towards the childlike and fanciful. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the fantastical stuff with its focus on the magic of youth and mystery of the unknown. But I think I prefer his short story work because
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Jonathan

Stories, Neil Gaiman informs in the introduction, are fragile things made up of 26 letters (more if you want to use phonetic symbols), ink and paper. They are illusions created by things that cannot last, but the best stories survive and transform. The stories within this volume are perhaps some of those best stories.

This collection contained many of Gaiman's most famous short stories. I want to write three quick reviews of some of the short stories. Including one which I previously read online
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Kerfe
I have not read Neil Gaiman's novels but I've heard good things about them. This collection is obviously not a good place to start reading his work. First off, the intro was irritating. The self-satisfied aren't-I-wonderful? name dropping tone was kind of overbearing, and probably put me in an extra-critical mood.

The short story is unforgiving; you don't have time for slow bits, or parts that sound like you've read them already somewhere before. And paying homage is tricky too--it can't be mere
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Becky
This is my second read-through of this book, and it was just as great, and oddly, just as surprising this time around as the last.

I don't know why it is, but I just have this image in my mind of Neil Gaiman as a proper author. I don't mean 'proper' to mean that he is officially an author (though he is), or that he does it correctly (though he does), but 'proper' in terms of vocabulary and ideas being more on the... non-vulgar side of things. I have this picture in my head, despite reading his b
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Stephen
6.0 stars. On my list of All Time Favorite books. Chilling, funny, scary, sad, imaginitive, original, disturbing AND ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!!
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Unfortunately, I picked up The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making in the middle of reading this collection, and it threw Gaiman's shortcomings and my reactions into sharp relief. Gaiman's clever, no doubt. But this is a mostly almost-horror collection of short story ideas rendered in a not particularly clever way, and I often had the feeling I was reading bits and pieces of autobiography tucked into larger tales. Luckily, a pleasant side effect was a coveted spot on R ...more
Helen
Neil Gaiman is amazing and this collection is proof. There are some stories in here that are so good, that I wanted to immediately go back and read them again as soon as I finished. For example:

"A Study in Emerald"
"October in the Chair"
"Other People"
"Bitter Grounds"
"Keepsakes and Treasures"
"Harlequin Valentine"
"Sunbird" and
"Monarch of the Glen."

The rest of the stories all have something interesting to say as well, and each is written in Gaiman's unique style. I even liked some of the poems i
...more
Chris
4.5 stars, really.

What a delightful collection of Gaiman's short stories! I was very impressed, liking this even better than I expected. It very nearly got a full 5-stars, but I honestly have a hard time giving that rating to a collection of short stories. They have to really 'wow' me for that. Most of the time the stories, being short, don't really capture the full suspension of belief that's required to become fully absorbed and lost. The more lost I get, the more big stars it'll get.

That said
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Sandi
Jan 19, 2009 Sandi rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sandi by: Beyond Reality February Fantasy BOM
Shelves: 2009, fantasy
I finished "Fragile Things" by Neil Gaiman while I was waiting for the anesthesiologist at UCLA Medical Center. Two days later, while visiting me in the hospital, my daughter announced that she "stole" the book from me. So, I don't have it to refer back to while doing this review.

For me, the highlight of this collection of short stories and poems was the novella "Monarch of the Glen" that featured Shadow from "American Gods" re-interpreting the Beowulf legend. It was extremely good. I thought t
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Becky
I really enjoyed this collection of stories. I listened to the audiobook version read by the author himself, which I think added quite a bit to the experience. It's been my experience that authors who read their own stories as audiobooks are generally not the best. While it's true that they know their characters and their stories, many of them just don't have the voice or talent for oral storytelling. That's not to say that the author isn't a storyteller - obviously they are, often they just sho ...more
Jean
Three stars for this one because I really liked some of the stories, I really disliked others, and while the prose is well-written, I just don't think Gaiman is a poet.

I'd rather not dwell on the negatives, so briefly, here are the stories I didn't like: "Other People" and "The Problem of Susan." "Other People" is a sickening description of one man's hell--literally hell, as in the afterlife. Of course, a description of hell should be sickening and disturbing, but that doesn't mean I have to lik
...more
Maria
Uneven collection of prose & poetry; a couple of the short stories were excellent, The rest was a bit of a muddle, with no satisfying resolutions, and that surprised me. I know this author has a great following and I ordinarily love "weird" as much as the next person, but perhaps I simply don't "get" him. Disappointing.
Florencia
“You can't do this to me, Neil. The boy went inside the farmhouse and... AND? What the hell, May? For god's sake, what kind of answer is that? Leave the Month finish the story, you dumb freak.”

That's how much I liked this book. It made me a bit violent. I found myself speaking to the characters (talking alone to some pages, from a sane person's point of view). I didn't like all the short stories, for example, “How do you think it feels?”, “Keepsakes and Treasures”, “The problem with Susan”–(view
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Kendra
I have such a strange relationship with Neil Gaiman's writing, because I dislike the majority of it, but the few things that resonate well with me resonate so completely and so memorably that I don't ever forget them. There were three stories and one poem that I actually quite liked, but other than that this particular collection really didn't work for me, mostly because I feel as if Gaiman is particularly weak in crafting distinctive narrators (especially when writing in first person) which is ...more
Benjamin Quigley
I am reading this book with my sister while she is home from college on break. Many of the stories and poems in this volume are spooky and/or funny, but I would like to review two stories and one poem that really grabbed me.

"October in the Chair"
This story, dedicated to Ray Bradbury, smacks of that author's rich and subtle style. I love the story-in-a-story format, the inclusion of supernatural concept-beings such as the months (who remind me of the Endless, of course), and the even-handedly tra
...more
Velvetink
Whenever a writer takes questions at a reading, an audience member inevitably asks, "Where do you get your ideas?" In the case of Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman's latest collection of short fiction and poetry, the question may be fair - ideas are very much on display - but his best work is driven by character and by the central question of popular fiction: What happens next? In other words, Neil Gaiman tells stories.

The half-dozen readers in America who still believe that genre means something migh
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Christie
This is one of the hardest books to review that I've come across. A few of these stories are really good, examples being October in the Chair and Sunbird. However, there are several that are just not very well thought out, and several that disturbed me enough to make me wonder if I want to read any more of Gaiman's work. If you believe that God is evil, then you will love The Problem of Susan. If you don't, then this story will seriously make you nauseous--it's one of the most truly perverted th ...more
Miss Bookiverse
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Petergiaquinta
I gave a big five stars to Gaiman's earlier collection, Smoke and Mirrors, but this is a weaker compilation, I'm afraid. Fragile Things starts and finishes strong, but in between it's hit and miss, and some of what misses just didn't need to be published again.

Fragile Things opens with "A Study in Emerald," a brilliant mash-up of Arthur Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft, if you can wrap your head around that peculiar concept. Picture Sherlock Holmes versus Professor Moriarty in a bizarro Victorian
...more
Sarah Keliher
It's pretty much heresy to say this in the SF community, but I don't really like Neil Gaiman. He's a perfectly competent re-worker of myth, but there's just not that much in his stuff for me. There are other writers who really know how to craft an old story so that it sings in a living voice, and for me, he's just not one of them. There's no there there, as the lady said. It's like watching a mediocre episode of Star Trek NG. Some tepid drama, a little moralizing, some fancy sets, and you're don ...more
Kristen Boers
Apr 24, 2008 Kristen Boers rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who ever wanted to be seen as gothic and mysterious, just once in their lives.
I owe Neil Gaiman a huge debt.
Not only for his exceptional contribution to literature, and the arts in general, over the last few years.
But for this reason: Reading "Fragile Things" has confirmed one of my greatest fears.

I don't like short story compilations.

It all started with Alice Munroe's "Hateship Loveship Friendship Courtship" or whatever it's called. I could not get through that book no matter how hard I tried. And I tried. Ever since then I have blamed my dislike of story compliations of
...more
Mike
I've read some Neil Gaiman before, and been amused and touched by his work in The Graveyard Book, Stardust, and American Gods. But this collection of short fiction and poetry from 2006 really showcases Gaiman at his most powerful and best. Whatever it is that story tellers have that reaches into our ur-consciousness, our Jungian collective memories, our demon-haunted worlds, and pulls back fairies and zombies, and dragons, and witches, vampires, aliens, demi-gods, devils, and angels . . . he has ...more
Levi
[This review has been retracted. See it here: http://leviathanbound.wordpress.com/2....]
Megan
Story after story of brilliance that can only come from the awesomeness of Neil Gaiman.
PurplyCookie
Introduction >> Gaiman explains his selection process for the stories included in this anthology. This collection's original title was supposed to be "These People Ought to Know Who We Are and Tell That We Were Here" but was changed to its current title since, according to Gaiman, "There are so many fragile things. People break easily, and so do dreams and hearts."

Don't skip the introduction since aside from the author's insights of his works, he has also hidden a short story within, "The
...more
Tim Storm
Man, I don't know. I love Neil Gaiman, but this collection started to get tiresome after about 200 airy pages. A story like "October in the Chair" is so enchanting and unique that I can't help but recommend it, but most of the pieces in Fragile Things were little more than fun experiments. In fact, that's exactly what this collection feels like: fun, throw-away experiments from a slightly-too-prolific author.

Compare this collection to, say, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me; they jus
...more
Paul (formerly known as Current)
For those who are interested in some of the hows and whys surrounding various stories, this book has a fine introduction.

As a whole, the collection is somewhat eclectic, simply bringing together a number of disparate pieces by the same author rather than trying to hang together in some grander way at the story level. As a kind of doorway into the works and worlds that Neil Gaiman creates, this is as good a place as any to begin offering poetry, fantasy, horror, and science fiction.

Are the stor
...more
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“There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.” 2636 likes
“She seems so cool, so focused, so quiet, yet her eyes remain fixed upon the horizon. You think you know all there is to know about her immediately upon meeting her, but everything you think you know is wrong. Passion flows through her like a river of blood.

She only looked away for a moment, and the mask slipped, and you fell. All your tomorrows start here.”
2056 likes
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